MEET THE PARKS
We are so excited to bring you Gangnam Kimchi! We are Ashley and Alex Park, the brother-sister duo behind Gangnam Kimchi —our family’s traditional kimchi line made right here in Chicago, Illinois. The original recipes come from our mother’s Korean restaurant Jurang and the magic happens in our father’s manufacturing factory Everfresh Inc. It is truly a family affair and our kimchi is an expression of love and pride. Gangnam Kimchi is an homage to not only our roots, but to our grandparents who still reside in the Gangnam district in Seoul, South Korea.
As children of immigrant parents, Alex and I were very much in a place between two cultures. Forced to adapt and bridge the gap in heritage, food was often the common denominator. Growing up was a mish-mash of Korean-American culture, the two sides often clashing in traditions and values, but food was and is always something where there are no lines or rules. We fondly remember waking up on school days to the smell our mother cooking bacon, eggs, and kimchi. It’s still one of our favorite meals to this day.
I guess you could say that Kimchi is having a real coming of age moment right now. Although it’s considered a trendy super food, the history runs as deep as its flavor. Kimchi reminds our parents of the mother country; like a part of Korea that they brought to the states. For us, It feels very reminiscent of our own coming of age story as children of immigrants, redefining what it means to be an American and searching for what it means to be Korean. Now, in our adult years, we find comfort in kimchi’s funky flavors that we’ll mash with our Sunday Bloody Mary’s or use as the missing topping on our ramen.
The history of kimchi and how it is embraced today has a personal significance to us. Through our experiences with food were we able to realize that heritage doesn’t have to be purely traditional to be authentic –it can be honored by delicious flavors to remind us that there are no lines, no rules in food or in culture.