Secret Sauce? Kim Jong Un Applies Science Into Kimchi-making

PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People’s Republic Of — Kim Jong Un Would like to turn the artwork of kimchi-making into a science. And the North Korean chief is now putting his money where his mouth is.

On the outskirts of Pyongyang, surrounded by snow-covered farms and greenhousesthat stands among Kim’s latest pet jobs, the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory, that produces 4,200 lots of the legendary Korean noodle vegetable dish per year. The glistening new facility replaces an old factory and started in June last year after acquiring Kim’s ultimate seal of approval, according to director Paek Mi Hye.

The factory is meant to exhibit Kim’s attempts to enhance North Korea’s domestic economy and create more, and improved, consumer solutions. His strategy, called “byungjin,” intends to concurrently develop the national economy and North Korea’s atomic weapons program.

North Korea’s continued underground atomic tests and launches of long-range missiles which could reach the U.S. mainland have attracted more sanctions down on the North than in the past. But external experts consider the country — although still struggling in many regions — is showing signs of little economic growth and improved agricultural production. It could be only a year or two away from using an functional, nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.

Applied science, according to the North’s policymakers, is totally essential on all fronts.

Kim has changed the Pyongyang skyline with high-tech flats to house his prized rocket scientist and nuclear engineers, and Paek repeatedly stressed while offering a tour of the facility to The Associated Press how even an ancient delicacy such as kimchi may gain from scientific invention.

Paek, who accompanied Kim on his “on-the-spot guidance” visits, ” said the factory has 150 employees but is for the most part automatic.

She stated the key aim of the factory is to operate at a “scientific manner at each stage.” In kimchi-making, which suggests inspections all along the production line to ensure hygiene and quality. The factory boasts of a one-of-a-kind “kimchi analyzer” to keep the correct levels of saltiness and lactic acid — its signature component.

Koreans North and South are making kimchi for decades, often passing down family recipes from mother to daughter or mother-in-law into daughter-in-law.

In 2015, UNESCO additional kimchi to its “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” list, noting the conventional sharing of know-how and substances to prepare large amounts of kimchi for the winter months “promotes co-operation among families, villages and communities, leading to social cohesion.”

Paek confessed that some people might resist giving up the precious tradition of tropical kimchi-making. “But they also recognize the quality and reliability of our factory-made item,” she said.

The factory produces eight kimchi goods, from the exact hot staple “tong kimchi,” that includes a reddish tint and is constructed from whole cabbages, to some milder selection constructed for kids. Its kimchi goods are distributed to restaurants and grocery stores around Pyongyang.

“That is the model,” Paek said. “Other factories such as ours are being proposed in every state.”

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Talmadge is your AP’s Pyongyang agency principal. Follow him Twitter and Instagram erictalmadge.