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North Korean Kimchi to Be Given Unesco Heritage Status

North Korea's kimchi is expected to gain Intangible Cultural Heritage status.

Kimchi.
Kimchi.
Wikimedia Commons

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea — North Korea to the layman — is rarely the recipient of international honors, but the nation's proud tradition of kimchi is drawing praise from Unesco. The United Nations' cultural agency is expected to give Intangible Cultural Heritage status to North Korea's production and consumption of kimchi, reports the BBC. The agency has already applied the same status to kimchi in South Korea.

Kimchi, of course, is the spiced fermented cabbage that is eaten every day on both sides of the Korean border. The North's lack of chiles results in a milder version compared to the red kimchi of the South. The dish is so important, the South Korean government has had to subsidize cabbage when prices have spiked in the past.

In its official nomination, Unesco says, "The tradition of Kimchi-making is an essential part in the life of Koreans, which finds its manifestation in every locals and season, and its community includes all Koreans.

"The tradition contributes to social unity and others, since it is practiced in the whole society involving neighborhoods, relatives, villages, organizations and localities as forms of communities. Koreans share experience among themselves to make delicious Kimchi according to season, while helping each other with raw materials and in preparation."

Unesco applies Intangible Cultural Heritage status to practices it feels are "both especially important to world heritage and cultural diversity, and deserving of lasting protection." After lobbying from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Oman, the preparation of Arabic coffee reportedly is expected to be approved, as well.

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