Maryland, Virginia celebrates first Kimchi Day – The Hill

history at a glance

  • The process of making kimchi was recognized as an intangible cultural heritage in Korea by UNESCO in 2013.

  • The states’ statement coincides with Korea’s own recognition of the day.

  • California and New York also celebrate Kimchi Day.

Maryland and Virginia recognize November 22 as Kimchi Day.

Kimchi is a famous Korean dish made with fermented cabbage and gochugaru red paste, although other variations may also include vegetables like cucumber and radishes.

The date coincides with Korea’s own national Kimchi Day, which marks the 22 health benefits of the food and the 11 different ingredients used to make the side dish. The dish is also traditionally prepared at this time of year.

California and New York were the first states to recognize Kimchi Day.

The term is used to celebrate Korean culture as the dish is a symbol of Korean pride and identity. In 2013, UNESCO declared the process of making and passing on kimchi, known as kimjang, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

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Yumi Hogan, First Lady of Maryland, is the first Korean-American First Lady in the United States and hosts her own cooking series. The Maryland governor’s mansion is also the first in the country to feature a kimchi refrigerator, which keeps the dish at optimal temperatures for the best flavor and texture.

“Declaring the first Kimchi Day in state history is another way to celebrate our incredible Korean-American community and its many contributions,” Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said in a press release.

“Our government is proud of the special bond we have with Korea and of all that we have been able to do to make those cultural and economic ties even stronger.”

In Virginia, efforts to have the day recognized by the state Del. Irene Shin (D), a daughter of Korean immigrants. Shin sponsored the bill that established Virginia’s leave.

“It’s finally here – Kimchi Day! Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed my resolution HJ147 establishing Kimchi Day in Virginia. I’m planning on eating all my favorite kinds of kimchi today to celebrate—cucumber, radish, and cabbage, of course!” Shin tweeted this morning.

The Washington, DC metropolitan area, which includes parts of Northern Virginia, is home to the country’s third-largest Korean American population, according to the bill. The popularity of Korean food has also increased in recent years, as online searches for Korean cuisine have increased more than 30 percent since 2012.