Jakjububon Gokja Fermented Vinegar

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Gokja vinegar is made with a locally produced, natural alcohol fermentation agent made from wheat and rice. Known for its distinctive flavor and aroma, gokja fermented vinegar is used in vinegar dressing or salads. It is used to make traditional foods such as chomuchim, chojeorim, choran, or taken as a drink when diluted with water or as the base of fermented tea.

The production method of the vinegar employs the traditional jakjububon method, which dates back to the 1700s and is characterized as a unique method where the grains are not stirred after being added to the water, but allowed to soak for 4-7 days until giving off a sour odor. The mixture is then steamed, and gokja and water is added before being fermented for about one month. It can be stored for up to three years.

Fermented vinegar used to be produced at home all over the country, but production stopped after the Japanese Colonial Era. Currently, there are homes that still produce fermented vinegar in the Yesan-gun and Cheongyang-gun areas of the Chungcheong province, in central western South Korea. It is currently mainly produced for personal use, but some families aim to sell their vinegar in the coming years.

Nowadays, fermented vinegar is not made using only naturally fermented traditional nuruk, but artificially cultured strains are widely used. This has led to the gradual disappearance of traditional fermented vinegar production methods. The native enzyme and yeast from the traditional fermentation method is not found in other products or regions. It is only found in gokja made by using natural fermentation methods passed down in families for generations.

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Territory

StateSouth Korea
Region

Chungcheongnam-do

Other info

Categories

Vinegar

Nominated by:Kim Hong Ki - Traditional Nuruk Research Center
Arca del GustoThe traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.