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In yesterday’s New York Times, an interesting spotlight on kimchi, a pungent, canned Korean fermented cabbage dish. Kimchi will soon make its debut in space, along with South Korean astronaut Ko San, who will reportedly consume the kimchi when he becomes hungry. Ko San and kimchi will set off to the International Space Station by way of a Russian aircraft on April 8.
The Times reports that the South Korean government “spent millions of dollars and several years” preparing the kimchi for space, including developing radiation that could replicate the fermented taste without involving bacteria, and reducing the strong odor “one-third or by half” in order to accomodate the delicate olfactory systems of non-Koreans on the spacecraft.
I’ve never heard of this dish before, which I imagine to be the Korean version of sauerkraut. South Koreans hear about it whever a flashbulb goes off. Apparently, “When Korean photographers try to organize the people they wish to take pictures of,” the Times reports, “they yell, ‘Kimchiiii.'”