UTSA East Asia Institute hosts inaugural Kimchi Festival Oct. 22

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(Oct. 14, 2011) -- The UTSA East Asia Institute will host the inaugural Kimchi Festival from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 22 in the University Center Denman Room (2.01.28) on the UTSA Main Campus. The event is free and open to the public. A staple of Korean cuisine and one of the healthiest foods in the world, kimchi is a spicy cabbage side dish.

With the goal of raising awareness of Korean food and culture, there will be presentations on Korea and kimchi, performances, activity booths, kimchi-making demonstrations, games, music, art, crafts and free food tasting. The Korean American Association of San Antonio is a major contributor to the festival, providing supplies, artists for the performances and booth staffing.

Kimchi is a staple of Korean cuisine and commonly is eaten at every meal. Considered one of the healthiest foods in the world, kimchi ingredients are cabbage, red pepper powder, salt, pickled shrimp, Korean radishes, green onions and sesame oil.

The health benefits of kimchi are many. Fiber in cabbage aids the digestive system and helps prevent intestine cancer. The fermentation process in making kimchi produces vitamins A, B and C as well as calcium and lactic bacterium, which are very beneficial to the human body.

In 2010, drought and land loss through river reclamation brought a drop in cabbage and radish production in Korea, causing the popular side dish to become scarce in restaurants, where it sometimes was served at no charge. The price of ingredients rose, and many families who traditionally made kimchi were forced to make less. In order for Koreans to serve the dish, many began ordering the main ingredients from other countries, increasing trade between Korea and these countries.

With Texas as one of the top-trading American states with Korea, Korea's goal is to bring more business and increase trade with Texas. Korea has the 15th largest economy in the world and is Texas' fifth largest export market. Texas and Korea have a steadily growing partnership, and because of the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA), more than 80 percent of Texas' exports to Korea are duty-free.

For more information, email the UTSA East Asia Institute, visit the UTSA East Asia Institute website or call 210-458-4943.

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The UTSA East Asia Institute mission is to promote appreciation and understanding of East Asian societies and cultures both on campus and in the community through research, outreach, networking, education, student-faculty exchange, and business development and cooperation. The institute organizes seminars, workshops, lectures, conferences, film festivals and visual arts exhibitions as well as hosting performing art groups from China, Japan, Korea and other Asian nations. The institute encourages faculty research collaboration within UTSA and with participating East Asian university researchers.