Kimchi in space

Kimchi, the unique Korean combination of fermented cabbage, garlic, ginger, onion and chili that brings tears to your eyes when you it eat, is finding its way into space according to the New York Times.

When South Korea’s first astronaut, Mr Ko, blasts off in a Russian spaceship on April 8, kimchi will be on board too. The Times reports that three Korean government research institutes have spent millions of dollars and several years perfecting a version of kimchi that won’t turn dangerous when exposed to cosmic rays and won’t put off the other astronauts with its pungent smell. Apparently Koreans consume 1.5 tonnes of the stuff a year and can’t do without it, even in space.

The Times concludes its story with a researcher explaining that during their research they found a way to slow down the fermentation of kimchi so that it can be shipped around the world at less cost. He goes on to say, “This will help globalise kimchi”.

Now I lived in rural Korea for short time in the 70s. I ate quite a bit of the stuff and saw lots of kimchi pots. While I like it, I can certainly live without it. I’m also quite happy that I’ll be safe in London when Mr Ko opens a can on the International Space Station; it’s unpredictable stuff. And I have to say kimchi being globalised is a scary thought.

Good luck Mr Ko. I hope you enjoy your kimchi in space.

Updated: Here’s the kimchi taking off <link> except it seems Mr Ko didn’t get to go.


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