Exploring the Potential of K-food with bibigo

Chef Doyun Kim of Yunseoul delivers the flavors of fermentation.

Food & Beverage
1,214 Hypes 0 Comments

KIM DOYun bibigo yun seoul
cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean

Exploring the Potential
of K-food with bibigo

Fermented foods have been a staple in Korea throughout its history. Korean “jang” (Korean fermented sauce) is left in a pot for several months to years to silently ferment before waiting for the right moment to come out, which is why making genuine fermented K-sauces is trickier than any other food. You cannot predict how it will taste, as its flavor heavily depends on many variables including the quality of ingredients, kinds of microbes at work, surrounding environment and fermentation period. Jang is truly the result of collaboration between man, nature and microorganisms. So how can these dynamic and diverse flavors be shared beyond Korea? We visited a man who can answer this question.
Mushrooms, persimmons and fish are hung in the air to dry, while the aroma of fermented ganjang (soy sauce) and gochujang (red chili paste) fills the entire space. A man in apron bustles around the dimly-lit kitchen. With long, thick hair in a ponytail and a straight face, he skillfully wields his different tools. He is Chef Doyun Kim of Yunseoul, a modern K-food restaurant based on traditional fermentation.
cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean
Chef Kim provides the best room and board for microorganisms, and in exchange they add unique taste, aroma and nutrients to his dishes. With 31 years of culinary experience, Chef Kim settled on cooking Korean cuisine by measuring with “one pinch and two big tablespoons”, despite being used to preparing Japanese and French dishes where utmost accuracy is of the essence. His goal is to systematize the traditional flavors of Korean foods. “All ingredients have their own fermentation thresholds, at which point they provide the best flavor. The ‘savory peak’, so to speak. I will find them and put them together.”
During fermentation and aging, the ingredients taste different at every moment until they achieve perfection. The smell goes away and the deep flavor the chef is seeking comes out, deepening its savoriness. To pinpoint this moment and minimize errors, Chef Kim has practiced over and over for the last 30 years. “I cook as if I will see it through to completion. There is no such thing as 100% when it comes to cooking, but I can still work towards that.”
Although chemical additives can quickly mimic the taste of fermented food, they do not replicate their deep, savory flavor. They also make diners feel thirsty and heavy in the stomach. Chef Kim is slow and patient when it comes to fermenting ingredients. He balances the taste of jang by putting boiled pumpkins, pears, apples and Taean Jayoem (boiled salt), and dry ages seafood in storage with temperatures set between two and five degrees Celsius. He also makes stock with scallops dried for 200 days and serves Chinese peppers pickled five years ago, as he knows that deep flavors are achieved with time.
cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean
cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean
“You can earn a special flavor when you take time in fermenting ingredients.”
cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean
“Well-aged fish has its unique savory flavor and texture. When dry-aged, soft white fish turns chewy which is suitable for a steak, while sticky eel turns crunchy. When left for another four to five months, fish bones become a good ingredient for soup.” The savory flavor of each ingredient reaches its peak after dry-aging, which slowly dries out the skin to make it chewier and also gets rid of smells. When boiled again after dry-aging, seafood also develops a different texture. You can taste the four different seasons from the deep seafood stock.

cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean

Fermentation is where Korean ancestors used to store food for long periods of time, but Chef Kim boldly abandons the concept. Rather, he reinterprets it with a modern twist. “There was no cold storage technology at the time. But now, you can ferment and dry-age ingredients in storage based on data. Hand-made food is good, but a more scientific approach is required for fermented food.” How much closer is Korean food to science now, when it used to be 100% hand-made? Before opening his restaurant, Chef Kim traveled around the world in search of good ingredients while working in Japan and other countries. After opening Yunseoul, he still makes long-term business trips to France, Turkey and New York. We asked him where he thought K-food stood globally.
With no flavor, only taste and texture remain. This is why Chef Kim wants to cook in a way that draws the best flavor out of each ingredient, and that is mostly achieved through fermentation. Fermented jang has its unique blend of sourness, sweetness and savoriness on top of its salty taste.
cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean
cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean
“We have to eat with all five senses, so it is hard to call something with only taste and texture ‘food’. After all, it is flavor that completes cooking.”
cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean
cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean
Chefs not only plan and cook, but also oversee the entire kitchen process. Chef Kim defines the qualities of a good chef as: “A good chef does not get angry while cooking, because the bad energy gets into the food.” Whenever his staff makes a mistake, Chef Kim limits his warning to just once because repeated admonishment may hurt the feelings of everyone involved.
“Understanding ingredients is the second must-have quality.” A good chef knows the environments that produce good ingredients. Chef Kim visits these places to observe how the ingredients are grown and harvested. That way he can perceive whether his dishes have the original aroma of the ingredients after fermentation and dry-aging.
“A good aroma is not something men can create. We need to discover that hidden within each ingredient.”
“I find it hard to cook Korean dishes during overseas business trips because of the lack of ingredients. So I would bring gochujang and anchovy stock from Korea to cook with foreign ingredients.” bibigo made K-sauces more easily accessible in order to share Korean flavors abroad. bibigo’s GOTCHU is a thin gochujang, or chili pepper sauce, that can be easily added to toasts or sandwiches like a hot sauce.
As a good starting point to Korean fermented food for K-food beginners, GOTCHU adds a new dimension to any food they enjoy without overpowering it. It is an authentic fermented Korean sauce with no preservatives or artificial sweeteners. We wondered about Chef Kim’s view on this: “It is a good way to introduce gochujang to those who have not tasted it before. It would also be more natural and acceptable to them as they can just add the sauce to their daily meals rather than tasting a full Korean dish.”
cj bibigo chef network feature doyun kim yunseoul fermentation gotchu sauce gochujang jang k-food korean
Chef Kim and microorganisms make the perfect team for fermented and dry-aged foods. Famed for drawing the deepest flavors from each ingredient, they make jang full of savory essence. Fermentation helps the ingredients to reach their savory peak, while Chef Kim brings Korean jang to its completion point. As K-sauces make their way to the deepest flavors through fermentation, their journey to the world will be led by bibigo’s GOTCHU hot sauce.
Presented by bibigo
Credits Photographer Injun Park Videographer Saccharin Film Contributing Editor Seohyung Jo

Read Full Article
Presented by bibigo
Share this article

What to Read Next

Explore the Infinite Potential of Contemporary Art with Artelli, a Pioneering Immersive Multi-dimensional Art Space
Art

Explore the Infinite Potential of Contemporary Art with Artelli, a Pioneering Immersive Multi-dimensional Art Space

Presented by Artelli
Interview with Mr. Cyrus Fong, Executive Director of Forward Fashion (International) Holdings Company Limited and Founder of Artelli, and Japanese artist Satoru Koizumi.

bibigo Brings Authentic Korean Flavors to the PGA TOUR
Food & Beverage

bibigo Brings Authentic Korean Flavors to the PGA TOUR

Presented by bibigo
Reimagining THE CJ CUP with “K-Food Utopia”.

Explore the "Trees of Finland" With KARHU This Fall
Footwear

Explore the "Trees of Finland" With KARHU This Fall

Featuring an “Avocado/Brown Sugar” colorway.


Explore the U.K.’s Breezy Winter With Oi Polloi and Mephisto’s Latest Footwear Collaboration
Footwear 

Explore the U.K.’s Breezy Winter With Oi Polloi and Mephisto’s Latest Footwear Collaboration

Featuring an all-leather build with climbing laces.

"Woman Life Freedom" Banner Flies Across New York City
Art

"Woman Life Freedom" Banner Flies Across New York City

The collaborative installation was brought together by Iranian artist Mahvash Mostala, Hank Willis Thomas, Wide Awakes and French artist JR.

Official Look at the Air Jordan 1 High Golf "Midnight Navy"
Footwear

Official Look at the Air Jordan 1 High Golf "Midnight Navy"

Featuring patent leather overlays and a spikeless outsole.

RTFKT Ventures Into the Real World With Cryptokicks iRL Sneaker
Footwear

RTFKT Ventures Into the Real World With Cryptokicks iRL Sneaker

Marking the company’s debut smart sneaker.

Take a First Look at 'The Boys' College Spinoff 'Gen V'
Entertainment

Take a First Look at 'The Boys' College Spinoff 'Gen V'

A new legion of Supes fights for their university’s highest rank.

On-Foot Look at the Air Jordan 4 SE Craft "Photon Dust"
Footwear

On-Foot Look at the Air Jordan 4 SE Craft "Photon Dust"

Landing on shelves next February.


Versatility Stands Tall in Louis Vuitton’s Pre-Fall 2023 Menswear Collection
Fashion

Versatility Stands Tall in Louis Vuitton’s Pre-Fall 2023 Menswear Collection

With everything from multicolored outerwear to contemporary suiting.

The Nike ISPA Sense Flyknit "Black/Smoke Grey" Receives a Release Date
Footwear

The Nike ISPA Sense Flyknit "Black/Smoke Grey" Receives a Release Date

Built for the city.

SZA's New Album 'S.O.S.' Features Don Toliver, Travis Scott and More
Music

SZA's New Album 'S.O.S.' Features Don Toliver, Travis Scott and More

The 23-track project also includes Phoebe Bridgers and Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

Fear of God's First ETERNAL Collection Drop Is Coming This Week
Fashion

Fear of God's First ETERNAL Collection Drop Is Coming This Week

The everlasting range reshapes signature silhouettes with Italian textiles and contemporary tailoring.

‘Fortnite’ Ushers In Chapter 4 With New Island, Weapons and Dirtbikes
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ Ushers In Chapter 4 With New Island, Weapons and Dirtbikes

Watch the trailer for the new Battle Royale season.

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Looks like you’re using an ad-blocker

We charge advertisers instead of our readers. Support us by whitelisting our site.

Whitelist Us

How to Whitelist Us

screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Under “Pause on this site” click “Always”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock Plus icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Block ads on – This website” switch off the toggle to turn it from blue to gray.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlocker Ultimate icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Switch off the toggle to turn it from “Enabled on this site” to “Disabled on this site”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the Ghostery icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the “Ad-Blocking” button at the bottom. It will turn gray and the text above will go from “ON” to “OFF”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the UBlock Origin icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the large blue power icon at the top.
  3. When it turns gray, click the refresh icon that has appeared next to it or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the icon of the ad-blocker extension installed on your browser.You’ll usually find this icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. You may have more than one ad-blocker installed.
  2. Follow the instructions for disabling the ad blocker on the site you’re viewing.You may have to select a menu option or click a button.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.