The study of gustation, or what we know informally as “taste,” is one that may seldom enter the mind. Most of us know that the sense of taste and that of smell are closely related, and I’d be willing to bet that the majority of people could identify the 5 commonly accepted taste sensations – sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and savory. But in director Steve Shin’s movie Kimchikhan (due out at the end of this year), he claims to incorporate a sixth taste via a thirty-one item menu (kimchi quesadillas, anyone?) that reinvents kimchi and shatters the preconceived limitations that once shackled kimchi to the realm of Korean cuisine.
We Americans have always valued efficiency in everything we do. As a result, we have streamlined food preparation, and even consumption, such that we can have a meal prepared fairly quickly and still have it be satisfying to taste. Unfortunately, the many sugars, salts, fats, and oils that are necessary to produce this immediate gratification do not give the nutrients necessary for a healthy lifestyle. In the film Kimchikhan, Steve Shin promises to show how kimchi is satisfying and tasty while also providing many of the nutrients lacking in our modern diets.Now, as far as I know, this is a first-ever event. I’m sure kimchi has been featured in many a Korean movie, but I’ve been looking around lately and I see no indication that there has been a feature-length film devoted entirely to kimchi that includes the preparation process, the health benefits, and the many varieties, and that also promises to enlighten us to ways to consume kimchi that haven’t been done before. For any avid kimchi fans (and why would you be reading this if you weren’t?) this is definitely a film worth seeing, if for no other reason than to take your kimchiphobic friends so that they can get a better understanding of your fanaticism. The shoot just wrapped at the end of May in Osaka, Japan. Kimchikhan is currently scheduled for release in December of 2009 in both 2- and 3-D.