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Comic aims to show real story behind Korean food

An image from “Say Kimchi! Korean Food Comic”

Publication Date : 19-09-2012

 

Korean food writer Dan Gray has teamed up with illustrator Sohn Hee-jung to work on “Say Kimchi! Korean Food Comic”, to show there is more to Korean food than bibimbap.

The pair has worked on a comic about Korean food before, creating a series of black-and-white comics with the Korean Food Foundation in 2009.

But tourists and people at Korean food fairs quickly snapped up the 16,000 copies the foundation originally printed.

“Actually people still kept on asking for them. There was a high demand for it but the foundation owned the rights to the images and we weren’t allowed to reprint them,” said Gray, who is also co-owner of O’ngo, a Korean cooking school and food tour operator.

Now they have decided to redo the comics, but this time in colour and available in e-book format.

The comics will also be spiced up in other ways. As well as a simple guide on how to eat the dishes, the book will also explain the history and traditions behind some of the foods, as well as how they are made and why Koreans eat certain foods.

They will also feature a new character, called Jia, who will introduce the stories behind the dishes.

“We wanted to make it relatable to multiple readers so kids who are really interested in learning about Korean food, and parents can show kids how you make this Korean food, and people can relate to this character and she just adds some cuteness that draws you into the book.”

The 30 recipes featured in the new series will all be different from the original ones.

“We wanted to have a range, pick stuff that was really fun,” said Gray. “And people like street food ― things like ‘hotteok’ and ‘bungobang.’ Things like ‘Andong jjimdak’ have a very interesting story. ‘Hwangtae gui,’ the winter dried fish, the process of making that is very interesting, and also teas.

“We tried to pick a range of foods because we feel that giving a range gives more insight into Korean culture.”

To help support the artist and the project before the book becomes available, a crowdfunding project has been set up on Kickstarter.

“We all believe in the project and so we are all putting in our time, but we just tried Kickstarter to get some additional funding,” Gray explained.

They plan to make the comic available, both complete and in sets of 10, via Apple and Android app stores and on Amazon.

If the reception for the book is good, they are considering releasing a print book, and possibly versions in other languages such as Japanese, Spanish and Chinese.

Gray said they hoped to make the book available by December, and were considering a price of about $5 for the set.

To see more information and the Kickstarter project, visit kickstarter.com/projects/755029812/say-kimchi-korean-food-comic. A Korean crowdfunding page is on Indiegogo is at en.indiegogo.com/kimchicomic.

 

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