Kimchi way to healthy bilateral ties and diet

(From left) Lee, Chung, Mohamad Zabawi and Chef Wan at the launch of the Korea Kimchi Festival at the Curve in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

MALAYSIA’s first-ever Korea Kimchi Festival was held at K Plus Food Market, the Curve in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

The 10-day festival was launched by South Korean agriculture, food and rural affairs minister Chung Hwang-keun and Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) director-general Datuk Dr Mohamad Zabawi Abdul Ghani.

The festival was a collaboration between K Plus Food Market and the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corp (aT).

aT is a South Korean government agency that promotes environmental sustainability and the health benefits of wholesome produce as well as superfoods such as kimchi.

Having established a branch in Kuala Lumpur in July 2022, aT intends to spearhead South Korea’s halal food market in Malaysia.

In a media statement, Chung said: “It brings me great pride to be here today to showcase kimchi as a traditional food item that has stood tall for many years and is now the symbol of Korean food culture.

“In earlier times, kimchi was made to sustain the harsh winter conditions but it is now a driving factor for social interactions and bringing people together, as in this Korea Kimchi Festival.

Kimchi needs to undergo fermentation before it is ready. — FilepicKimchi needs to undergo fermentation before it is ready. — Filepic

“The ministry looks forward to strengthening bilateral relations between South Korea and Malaysia through various food exhibitions that will bring more people together,” he said.

KMT Jaya Sdn Bhd chairman and founder Datuk Matthew Lee was awarded the JangBoGo Award by Chung in November 2022 for his contribution to raising awareness about the importance of halal products in the global Muslim market.

He was also recognised for acquiring halal certificates and distributing major Korean food products in Malaysia.

Lee said: “The widespread and ever-growing demand for Korean products in Malaysia is the driving factor for K Plus Food Market to import more products, with special attention given to a wide range of halal-certified fresh produce and cooking ingredients that can benefit consumers in various ways.

Participants all ears during the kimchi-making class at the mall.Participants all ears during the kimchi-making class at the mall.

“We hope to inspire a healthier diet in Malaysians to reduce health risks as best as we can.”

Mohamad Zabawi said: “We appreciate the initiatives taken by KMT Group in assisting Korean brands that are in high demand to acquire halal certification, which is a very important criterion for us in Malaysia.”

The Korea Kimchi Festival had an array of fun-filled activities for visitors of all ages.

Participants learned about Korean culture and sharpened their cooking skills in kimchi and bulgogi-making classes.

Children learned about Korean ingredients and recipes in treasure hunts, name-guessing and colouring contests.

During the launch, celebrity chef Datuk Chef Wan hosted a kimchi-making class to demonstrate how to prepare kimchi with a Malaysian twist.

Chef Wan, who is also a kimchi-making specialist with a certificate from the Seoul Kimchi Academy, explained the benefits of kimchi and why Malaysians should incorporate it into their daily diet.

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