A special exhibition on traditional Korean food culture opens Wednesday at the National Intangible Heritage Center in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province. The exhibition runs through May 14, 2023.
The exhibition, titled "Eat and Inherit: Korean Traditional Food Culture," takes visitors on a journey to discover the root of Korean cuisine through kimchi, jang (fermented paste), makgeolli (rice wine) and tteok (rice cake).
Kimchi and jang making were designated National Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2017 and 2019, respectively, and the making of makgeolli and tteok joined the list in 2021.
The making of kimchi and jang traditionally required household members to work together, while makgeolli and tteok were made to be shared with neighbors.
The exhibition consists of four parts -- "Korean Food Culture in Records," "Spending Time Together," "Sharing Food, Sharing Hearts" and "Inherit Together."
The first part introduces the history of Korean culinary culture through old books, including "Sanga Yorok (The Essential Notes for a Household)," "Eumsik Dimibang (Recipes for Food Tasting)" and "Gyuhap Chongseo (Encyclopedia for the Women's Quarters)." Recipes can be found in these books that had been passed down for generations.
The ingredients and tools for making kimchi and jang as well as spaces where they were fermented to enhance their flavor and nutritional value are presented in the second part of the exhibition.
The third part of the exhibition shows how makgeolli and tteok are made and how they were consumed as communal food for both festive and sorrowful occasions.
Videos showing the diverse ways of enjoying the cultural heritage today are presented through videos.
For those unable to visit the center in person, a virtual reality exhibition tour led by Seo Kyoung-duk, a professor at Sungshin Women's University, will be available from January, through the NIHC's website and YouTube channel.
Admission is free. The exhibition is closed Mondays.