Secret Sauce? Kim Jong Un Implements Science To Kimchi-making

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

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Within this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, workers prepare kimchi about the production line at the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to enhance the country’s domestic economy and create more, and much better, consumer solutions. The plan, called “byungjin,” is meant to simultaneously develop the national economy and North Korea’s atomic weapons program. Not as

Within this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, workers prepare kimchi about the production line at the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong … longer

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

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In this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, director Paek Mi Hye holds a bundle of kimchi made at the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to enhance the country’s domestic economy and create more, and much better, consumer solutions. The plan, called “byungjin,” is meant to simultaneously develop the national economy and North Korea’s atomic weapons program. Not as

In this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, director Paek Mi Hye holds a bundle of kimchi made at the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is an exhibition of North Korean chief … much more

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

Image of all

In this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, also a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can be observed in the entrance way of the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is still a showcase of Kim’s efforts to enhance North Korea’s domestic economy and create more, and improved, consumer goods while simultaneously developing the North’s atomic weapons program. Not as

In this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, also a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can be observed in the entrance way of the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of … much more

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

Image of all

Within this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, an employee monitors production from the control room of the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory in Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to enhance the country’s domestic economy and create more, and much better, consumer solutions. The plan, called “byungjin,” is meant to simultaneously develop the national economy and North Korea’s atomic weapons program. Not as

Within this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, an employee monitors production from the control room of the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory in Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s … longer

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

Image of all

Within this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, workers prepare kimchi about the production line at the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to enhance the country’s domestic economy and create more, and much better, consumer solutions. The plan, called “byungjin,” is meant to simultaneously develop the national economy and North Korea’s atomic weapons program. Not as

Within this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, workers prepare kimchi about the production line at the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong … longer

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

Image of all

Within this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, workers prepare kimchi about the production line at the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to enhance the country’s domestic economy and create more, and better, consumer solutions. The plan, called “byungjin,” is meant to simultaneously develop the national economy and North Korea’s atomic weapons program. Not as

Within this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, workers prepare kimchi about the production line at the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong … longer

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

Secret Sauce? Kim Jong Un applies science into kimchi-making

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PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Kim Jong Un wants to flip the craft of kimchi-making to a science. And the North Korean chief is now putting his money where his mouth is.

About the outskirts of Pyongyang, surrounded by snow-covered farms and greenhouses, stands one of Kim’s most current pet projects, the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory, which generates 4,200 tons of the legendary Korean noodle vegetable dish a year. The glistening new facility replaces an old mill and opened in June last year after obtaining Kim’s ultimate seal of approval, based on director Paek Mi Hye.

The mill is meant to showcase Kim’s efforts to enhance North Korea’s domestic economy and create more, and improved, consumer solutions. His plan, called “byungjin,” aims to simultaneously develop the national economy and North Korea’s atomic weapons program.

North Korea’s continued underground atomic tests and starts of long-range missiles which could conceivably hit the U.S. mainland have brought more sanctions back on the North than ever before. But external experts believe the nation — while still fighting in many regions — is still showing signs of modest economic development and improved agricultural production. It might be only a couple of years away from having an operational, nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.

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

Kim has transformed the Pyongyang skyline with high-rise apartments to house his prized rocket scientist and engineers, and Paek repeatedly worried while giving a tour of the facility to The Associated Press how even an early delicacy like kimchi can benefit from scientific invention.

Paek, who accompanied Kim on his “on-the-spot guidance” visits, said the mill has 150 workers but would be for the most part automatic.

She stated the primary objective of the mill is to function within a “scientific way at each stage.” In kimchi-making, which suggests inspections all over the production line to ensure cleanliness and quality. The mill boasts of a one way “kimchi analyzer” to keep the right levels of saltiness and lactic acid — its own trademark ingredient.

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

In 2015, UNESCO added kimchi to its “intangible cultural heritage of humankind” list, noting that the traditional sharing of know-how and substances to prepare large amounts of kimchi for the winter months “promotes cooperation among households, villages and communities, contributing to social cohesion.”

Paek acknowledged that some people may resist giving up the cherished heritage of communal kimchi-making. “However they also recognize the quality and trustworthiness of our factory-made solution,” she said.

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The mill produces eight kimchi goods, in the exact hot staple “tong kimchi,” which includes a red tint and is made of complete cabbages, to some milder selection developed for children. Its kimchi goods are distributed to restaurants and grocery stores across Pyongyang.

“This is the version,” Paek said. “Other factories like ours are being proposed in each state.”

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