New Malden's Kimjang Project is hosting a Kimchi-making project in town this Saturday (April 13).

The blossoming community project hosted an oral history event courtesy of the National Lottery Heritage Fund last weekend (pictured) and plans to stage the UK's first ever Kimjang Festival on November 23, later this year.

Kimjang is the traditional, highly communal process of making Kimchi — a classic Korean dish made with salted and fermented vegetables.

The Surrey Comet spoke with Kimjang Project Manager Justina Jang, who is also a Trustee of Korean British Cultural Exchange (KBCE) that help sponsor the scheme.

Ms Jang discussed the project far-reaching goals in the months and years ahead, and said that New Malden was the perfect place to host a Kimjang festival.

Ms Jang said: "In New Malden we have over 20,000 South Koreans, 700 North Korean defectors and over 1,000 Korean Chinese are living in the New Malden and Kingston area. It's the biggest concentration of Korean people in Europe, and in such a small area.

"Many of the community's older residents are gone now and we wanted to preserve their memories of what Kimjang was like when they were living in North or South Korea.

The Kimjang Project's focus on living history — of which the centuries-old process of Kimjang is the most obvious example — is clear.

Last weekend the oral history event saw the National Lottery Heritage Fund host a seminar on how to document oral history, including interview techniques and the use of the latest video and audio equipment, so that Korean's from the community who remember what Kimjang was like in Korea can be passed on to the next generation.

Indeed, the historical process and memory is the reason why Kimjang and Kimchi recipes survive to this day.

After describing the way one Kimchi recipe uses the white of a watermelon, Ms Jang explained further: "That watermelon recipe is from a recipe book written in the 17th Century in Korea.

"It was written by the doctor of the king, who wrote the first recipe book in Chinese characters, and there were 38 Kimchi recipes in there."

"He talked about how 'the food at your dinner table is a medicine' — that's what people believed at that time — and we like to discuss the nutritional benefits and eating healthy food associated with Kimchi today."

The Kimjang project is an ideal way to do this, since Kimjang involves members of the community all banding together to help prepare and make the Kimchi to be shared amongst everyone.

This process and a range of other activities will be on offer during Saturday's Kimjang event, and on an even grander scale during the November festival.

Ms Jang said: "Kimjang is such a communal event, making Kimchi to be shared with's a family-orientated event too and that will be showcased with the community at the Kimjang Festival.

"Our ambition is to make the Kimjang Festival similar to the Notting Hill Carnival in size — every November, hopefully get people to come to New Malden, try some Kimchi and expand it as a food-focused festival."

For more information on Kimjang Project and details about Saturday's event and the Kimjang Festival on November 23, visit or see the Facebook page at: