Philadelphia’s vibrant Korean community is on a mission to establish National Kimchi Day in Pennsylvania, and they’re kicking off the festivities with a bang.
Love Park will come alive on Saturday with the second annual Kimchi Festival, organized by the Korean Cultural Foundation. This daylong celebration promises workshops, cooking demos, traditional games, and live performances, all in honor of Korean heritage and cuisine.
Last year, the festival drew in over 1,500 participants, and this year’s planning committee is aiming to double that number, as stated by committee member Gail Allen.
The festivities will kick off with a traditional drum performance and dance. Attendees can witness an open kimchi-making demonstration and participate in DIY workshops led by local Korean restaurant chefs who are generously volunteering their time. The cabbage for the festival’s namesake dish will be prepped a day in advance, salted, and brined.
Besides kimchi, you can savor other delectable Korean treats like kimbap and hotteok. Kimbap, rice and vegetable rolls wrapped in seaweed, offer a unique “nutty flavor” from sesame oil, making them a popular lunchbox choice, according to Allen. Hotteok, on the sweeter side, resembles “mini-pancakes” filled with brown sugar, honey, peanuts, and cinnamon.
The festival will also feature arts and crafts, traditional Korean folk games like yut nori, jeggichagi (similar to hacky sack), and ddakji (inspired by the popular Korean show Squid Games).
The event lineup includes a K-pop dance performance, a taekwondo demonstration, and a showcase of hanbok, traditional Korean clothing.
Founded in 2012, the Korean Cultural Foundation aims to bridge the cultural gap between first-generation immigrant parents and their children. With around 42,000 people of Korean heritage in the Philly region, it ranks among the top 10 U.S. metro areas in population.
The Kimchi Festival is a result of the foundation’s desire to join similar events in other states and is the starting point for their campaign to declare November 22 as Kimchi Day in Pennsylvania. This date symbolizes the 11 main ingredients in traditional kimchi and the 22 associated health benefits. California recognized Kimchi Day in 2021, and the organization has meetings lined up with Pennsylvania officials in Harrisburg to further discuss the initiative.
In the meantime, mark your calendars for Saturday’s celebration, where you can enjoy a day with your family, indulge in Korean cuisine, and embrace a different culture.