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

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

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During this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, employees prepare kimchi about the manufacturing line in 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 boost the country’s domestic economy and create more, and improved, consumer products. The strategy, known as “byungjin,” is intended to concurrently develop the national economy and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Not as

During this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, employees prepare kimchi about the manufacturing line in the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong … more

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

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In this Dec. 20, 2017, photograph, manager Paek Mi Hye retains a package of kimchi made in 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 boost the country’s domestic economy and create more, and improved, consumer products. The strategy, known as “byungjin,” is intended to concurrently develop the national economy and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Not as

In this Dec. 20, 2017, photograph, manager Paek Mi Hye retains a package of kimchi made in the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is a showcase of North Korean leader … more

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

Image of all

In this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is observed in the entrance way of the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of Kim’s efforts to boost North Korea’s domestic economy and create more, and improved, consumer products while concurrently creating the North’s nuclear weapons program. Not as

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

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

Image of all

During this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, a worker tracks creation from the control area 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 boost the country’s domestic economy and create more, and improved, consumer products. The strategy, known as “byungjin,” is intended to concurrently develop the national economy and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Not as

During this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, a worker tracks creation from the control area of the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory in Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s … more

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

Image of all

Image of all

During this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, employees prepare kimchi about the manufacturing line in 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 boost the country’s domestic economy and create more, and improved, consumer products. The strategy, known as “byungjin,” is intended to concurrently develop the national economy and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Not as

During this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, employees prepare kimchi about the manufacturing line in the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong … more

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

Image of all

During this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, employees prepare kimchi about the manufacturing line in 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 boost the country’s domestic economy and create more, and improved, consumer products. The strategy, known as “byungjin,” is intended to concurrently develop the national economy and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Not as

During this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, employees prepare kimchi about the manufacturing line in the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. The mill is really a showcase of North Korean leader Kim Jong … more

Photo: Eric Talmadge, AP

Image of all

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

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PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Kim Jong Un would like to turn the artwork of kimchi-making into a science. Along with the North Korean leader is 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 recent pet jobs, the Ryugyong Kimchi Factory, which produces 4,200 tons of this iconic Korean pickled vegetable dish per year. The shiny new facility replaces an older mill and started in June a year ago after acquiring Kim’s final seal of acceptance, based on manager Paek Mi Hye.

The mill is intended to exhibit Kim’s efforts to boost North Korea’s domestic economy and create more, and improved, consumer products. His strategy, known as “byungjin,” intends to concurrently develop the national economy and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

North Korea’s repeated underground nuclear tests and launches of long-range missiles that could conceivably hit the U.S. mainland have attracted more sanctions back on the North than in the past. But outside experts believe the country — while still fighting in many areas — is showing signs of modest economic development and improved agricultural production. It might be only a year or two away from using an usable, nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.

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

Kim has changed the Pyongyang skyline with high-rise apartments to house his precious rocket scientist and engineers, and Paek repeatedly worried while offering a tour of this facility to The Associated Press how much an ancient delicacy such as kimchi can gain from scientific innovation.

Paek, who followed Kim on his “on-the-spot guidance” visits, said the mill has 150 employees but will be for the most part automated.

She stated the main objective of this mill is to function in a “scientific way at each stage.” In kimchi-making, which suggests inspections all over the manufacturing line to guarantee quality and hygiene. The mill boasts of a one way “kimchi analyzer” to maintain the appropriate levels of saltiness and lactic acid its own signature component.

Koreans North and South are producing kimchi for generations, frequently passing family recipes down from mother to daughter or mother-in-law into daughter-in-law.

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

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Paek acknowledged that some folks could resist giving up the cherished tradition of tropical kimchi-making. “But they also recognize the quality and trustworthiness of our factory-made product,” she said.

The mill produces eight kimchi products, in the exact hot staple “tong kimchi,” which has a reddish tint and is constructed of whole cabbages, to some milder selection made for kids. Its kimchi products have been distributed to restaurants and grocery stores across Pyongyang.

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

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Talmadge is the AP’s Pyongyang bureau chief. Follow him Twitter and Instagram @erictalmadge.