China remained open and South Korea maintained a modest take on cultural diplomacy to support its claim on the fermented food kimchi.
Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun, last Jan. 3, stirred mixed emotions of Koreans as he posted his photos making kimchi.
“Winter life can also be colorful and enjoyable. One option is to try some homemade kimchi by yourself. Not too difficult. My colleagues said it’s super tasty,” the ambassador wrote. He can be seen raising up his homemade kimchi as did a thumbs-up pose.
Zhang Jun’s post which promotes the staple dish of Korea came on the heels of Global Times’ report regarding the food. The Koreans took the report of the state-run media as China’s claim to Korean culture.
Last week, South Korea and China’s dispute over kimchi was reignited and this time, it has involved other countries.
Many Seoul-based foreign envoys have unconsciously joined the feud with their videos making the dish.
There were videos and photos of the embassies of Hungary, Belgium and Denmark preparing the dish using the DIY kit from the Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS).
Eighteen of the foreign embassies based in Seoul have given favorable answers to the question of the culture ministry on whether they are willing to have the kit on the Lunar New Year.
The kimchi DIY kit contains pickled cabbages and spices.
The kit allowed Hungarian Ambassador to Seoul Mozes Csoma and his sons to enjoy making kimchi, as they recorded themselves preparing the dish in a seven-minute video. While they are making it, the father-and-sons have discussed the recipes for the fermented dish as well as their dish in Hungary that is similar to kimchi.
The same enjoyable experience was also shared by Danish Ambassador einar H. Jensen in his post entitled “The Taste of Korea: Kimchi”. He was filmed with a bowl of spiced cabbage and he explained his try at gimjang, as he added chili paste to the cabbages.
“It looks great. I look forward to tasting it,” the ambassador exclaimed.
Last February 10, the Embassy of Belgium in Seoul also posted the media materials showing his staff preparing the fermented dish. In the post, the embassy stated: “it was a great way to have a small team building exercise and let our newest staff members discover the tradition of Korean Kimchi making.”
In a video hosted by the Asia Society Korea last December 2020, ex-U.S. Ambassador to Korea Harry Harris has learned how to prepare kimchi along with Lee Hye-jung, a celebrity ched.
In one of his tweets, the former Ambassador has labeled Korea as the “original home” of kimchi and even made the hashtag #originalKimchifromKorea.