Author: Andrea Ramírez
Museums are unmissable places when you travel, and in my case, there are always several included in my list of places to visit. Today, I bring you an excellent recommendation for traveling to Seoul. The capital of South Korea is full of amazing places to visit, and there are several museums that should be on any tourist’s list. In this blog, I am going to tell you about a very particular museum that specializes in one of the most delicious foods in Korea: Kimchi. Let’s take a look at this place!
Museum Kimchikan is located in Insadong, between the fourth and sixth floors of Maru Towel, since 2015. Getting there is very easy; Jonggak station on line 1 and Anguk station on line 3 are the closest stations. If you walk about ten minutes from any of these stations, you will find the museum. You can visit it from Tuesday to Sunday between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Regarding tickets, according to Visit Seoul, admission costs 5.000 won for people over 19 years old, 3.000 won for people between 8 and 18 years old, and 2.000 won for children under 7 years old. The museum is closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Lunar New Year holidays, Chuseok holiday, and Christmas.¹
Museum Kimchikan was the first kimchi museum in Korea and the only food museum in the country for a long time. Regarding its history, it was established in 1986, in Pil-dong, Jung-gu, in Seoul. A year later, the Pulmuone Company took over the management of the museum. In 1988, the museum moved to the Korean World Trade Center Complex in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. That year, many foreign tourists visited the country for the Seoul Olympics, so the museum received many visitors.
This museum changed its name from Kimchi Museum to Museum Kimchikan in 2015. According to the museum’s official website, it was decided to use the “Kan” suffix in several words to talk about the experience regarding kimchi in a broader way. In addition, in Korean society, there are several words related to kimchi with the “Kan” suffix, such as “Chankan”, which is the place where side dishes were prepared; “Surakan”, the place where the King’s meals were prepared; and “Gotkan”, the place where food was stored.²
Kimchi is an indispensable dish on the Korean table, a food that represents the country, and which there have even been heated discussions about its origin between Koreans and Chinese. This dish received international recognition as one of the healthiest foods of the 21st century by Health magazine in 2006, which renewed its fame. Subsequently, in 2013, the culture of kimchi was designated Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, so a visit to the Museum Kimchikan is a mandatory visit for all tourists because there you will find out about the history of this food, the types of kimchi and the importance of this food, so you will have a multisensory experience.
This Museum is organized on three levels, upon entering, you will find an information desk and a store, plus three exhibition halls; one called Kimchi Madang, dedicated to the history of this food, a laboratory on the science of fermentation; and the Kimchi Sarangbang, which has the appearance of an old kitchen, to learn more about this space and its changes over time. On the second floor are four spaces to enjoy the kimchi experience through sounds and videos about the different regions and variants of the food. On the top level, there is a large kitchen for kimchi preparation workshops, a space to taste different types of kimchi, and, finally, there is also a room regarding the UNESCO designation, which has several spaces, such as an archive about the food, and the exhibitions show visitors about the importance of kimchi not only in the present but also through the people who have been involved in the preparation of this food.
The visitor will then be able to learn about the different ways of preparation, the different ingredients, and how kimchi has changed in certain aspects but how many others have remained the same. The museum also wants the visitor to have a multi-sensory experience. Additionally, there are several perspectives to approach the subject of kimchi, for example, from different sciences such as history and chemistry.
In addition, this museum offers several workshops in Korean and English. One of them is the preparation of kimchi, which costs 25.000 won per person. To be part of this experience, you must book in advance on the official website of the museum, or through the following email: email@example.com Also, it is common to see activities such as contests, quizzes, and workshops for children on vacation, as the museum is in constant activation, so I recommend you be attentive to its social networks to enjoy the events the museum has to offer. Finally, if you go to the museum, you will find mediators willing to guide you through it, in four available schedules (11:00 / 14:00 / 15:00 / 16:00), but keep in mind they will only do so if there is at least a group of ten people.
Did you know about the existence of this museum, and would you like to visit it? I hope that after reading this blog, you have listed this place for your next visit to Seoul. I also leave you their Instagram account for you to explore a little more about this beautiful place.
Reader: Seline Suriel
Reviewed by: Luisa Quintero
Chang, S. (n.d.). My trip to a museum dedicated to kimchi in Seoul: Korea.net: The official website of the Republic of Korea. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from https://www.korea.net/NewsFocus/HonoraryReporters/view?articleId=194051
Doopedia. (n.d.). 김치박물관 (뮤지엄김치간). Retrieved July 16, 2023, from https://www.doopedia.co.kr/photobox/comm/community.do?_method=view&GAL_IDX=180728001113438
El Museo del Kimchi, una sabrosa y refrescante visita al mundo del kimchi. (n.d.). Retrieved July 16, 2023, from http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/contents_view.htm?lang=s&menu_cate=travel&id=&board_seq=63571&page=4&board_code=seoul_touring
Museumkimchikan. (n.d.). 뮤지엄김치간 (@museumkimchikan) • Instagram photos and videos. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from https://www.instagram.com/museumkimchikan/
Sampayo Sanchez, V. (n.d.). Cuatro museos para descubrir la cultura de Corea del Sur de otra manera: Korea.net: The official website of the Republic of Korea. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from https://spanish.korea.net/NewsFocus/HonoraryReporters/view?articleId=194149
Space – Museum Kimchi. (n.d.). Retrieved July 16, 2023, from https://www.kimchikan.com/?page_id=41
Visitseoul. (n.d.). Museum Kimchikan | The Official Travel Guide to Seoul. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from https://english.visitseoul.net/attractions/Museum-Kimchikan_/19954