Through the nation’s first “KOREA KIMCHI FESTIVAL,” Korea’s minister of agriculture, food, and rural affairs encourages Malaysians to embrace Korean food culture
Korea’s 66th Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, Mr. Chung Hwang-keun, and YBhg. Dato’ Dr. Mohamad Zabawi bin Abdul Ghani, Director-General of the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), officiated the official opening of Malaysia’s first Korea Kimchi Festival at K PLUS Food Market. The Korea Kimchi Festival is organised to provide a venue for Malaysians to immerse themselves in Korean culture and to let tourists experience the “Korean way of Living.”
The Korea Kimchi Festival is a collaborative effort between Malaysia’s first and largest homegrown Korean supermarket – K PLUS Food Market and the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp (aT), a Korean government agency with the aim of educating Malaysians on environmental sustainability and the health benefits of wholesome produce and superfoods such as kimchi.
Having established a branch in Kuala Lumpur in July 2022, aT intends to spearhead Korea’s halal food market in Malaysia – catering to the Muslim population in the country. Since its establishment in 1967, aT has stimulated the export of Korean crops by operating a global export network to promote memorandum of understanding (MOUs) and host promotional events with large overseas distributors such as K PLUS Food Market’s parent company, KMT Group.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Chung Hwang-keun said, “On behalf of all of Korea, I would like to express what an honor and privilege it is to see Malaysians indulging in Korean culture. 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 is now transcended into a driving factor for social interactions and bringing people together just as in this Korea Kimchi Festival.”
“The ministry looks forward to employing more efforts to strengthen the bilateral relationships between Korea and Malaysia through various food exhibitions that will bring more people together. With Malaysia being a food hub with cuisines from various backgrounds, Korea is prepared to embrace the Malaysian food culture as well,” he shared.
Datuk Matthew Lee, Chairman and Founder of KMT Jaya Sdn. Bhd. was awarded the JangBoGo Award by Korea’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in November 2022 for his contribution to raising awareness of the importance of Halal products in the global Muslim market. He was also recognized for acquiring Halal certificates and distributing major Korean food products in Malaysia.
Datuk Matthew 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 the finest quality of halal-certified fresh produce and cooking ingredients that can benefit the consumer’s health in various ways.”
“Initiatives such as these are the reason why I got into the business of distributing Korean exports in Malaysia. Sharing of cultures is essential, especially in a multicultural country – but more importantly, we hope to inspire a healthier dietary composition in Malaysians to reduce health risks as best we can,” he added.
YBhg. Dato’ Dr. Mohamad Zabawi bin Abdul Ghani commented saying, “We appreciate the initiatives taken by KMT Group in assisting renowned Korean brands that are in high demand to acquire Halal certification, which is a very important criterion for us in Malaysia. This portrays the company’s respect & understanding towards the needs and sensitivity of Muslim consumers, which is very much commendable.”
Held for a fortnight, Korea Kimchi Festival presents an array of fun-filled activities for visitors of all ages to join in. Kimchi and Bulgogi-making classes were organized for participants to learn about Korean culture and sharpen their cooking skills while bonding with their family members who are learning with them. For little kids, activities such as treasure hunting, name guessing, and coloring contests are held to educate them on Korean ingredients and recipes. On 27 May, an eating competition will be held for Korean food lovers to indulge and beat the clock to finish their favorite foods.
During the launch, Malaysian celebrity Chef and Ambassador of Korean food brands, Jongga and Nongshim Farmer’s Heart, Datuk Dr. Chef Wan hosted a Kimchi making class to demonstrate how to prepare kimchi with a Malaysian twist added to it – for local participants. Being a Kimchi Making Specialist with a certificate from the Seoul Kimchi Academy, Datuk Dr. Chef Wan explained the benefits of kimchi and why Malaysians should incorporate them into their daily diets.
The Korea Kimchi Festival will be held from 12 to 21 May 2023 at K Plus Food Market, located at The Curve, Mutiara Damansara. For more information, kindly visit (https://kplus.my/ or https://www.facebook.com/kplusfoodmarket/)