Nothing Else but Water, Soybeans, and Solar Salt…A Vintage Concept Highlights Tradition and High Quality
Jookjangyeon are the traditional sauces of the Korean trading company Young Il International Co., Ltd. They have introduced a vintage concept to the sauce industry and are receiving a positive response from consumers. In the wine industry, vintage is the grape’s harvest year.
Holds Fast to the Traditional Methods of Sauce-Making…Scent and Flavor Are the Merits
The adoption of this concept for sauces is designed to demonstrate the differences in flavors of traditional sauces, depending on the period of ripening.
The company’s principle is “put in nothing but nature and time” and, accordingly, it makes Jookjangyeon sauces with only water, soybeans, and solar salt. No chemical seasonings, artificial colors, or preservatives are added. Jung Youn-tae, CEO of Young Il International, explains, “To make Jookjangyeon sauces we just need natural bedrock water (extracted from the depth of 200 meters), 100 percent organic Korean soybeans, and high-end Sinan solar salt. The process of making the sauces is very complicated and takes a long time but, compared to other sauces, our product definitely wins in taste and scent.”
In November, at the first signs of winter, soybeans are boiled in 16 cast iron pots on top of an oak wood fire. They are made into 20,000 meju (fermented soybean lumps) and dried in the natural wind in red clay rooms. Next, the meju are naturally fermented in 3,000 crocks and left to ripen for at least a year. That is how Jookjangyeon sauces are born. Thanks to the traditional sauce-making method, each product has a vintage of its own. It includes all the information about the crop, climate, and ingredients of the production year. The older the vintage, the better the taste and the higher the price.
Classy Packages such as Earthen Pots and Glass Bottles…Tube Packages Are Popular in Foreign Markets
Jookjangyeon has several product lines for hot pepper paste, soybean paste, and soy sauce. All of the sauces taste less sweet than regular Korean sauce products. Jookjangyeon soybean paste is very aromatic. Jookjangyeong red pepper paste has a mild spicy taste. And Jookjangyeon soy sauce isn’t too salty, so it is good for flavoring dishes. The products of Jookjangyeon are sold in earthen pots and glass bottles that give them a classy look. Pottery packaged items are especially popular as gifts. The items in glass bottles are offered in different sizes - 150g, 500g, and 960g.
Among the Jookjangyeon sauces, gochujang is currently on the upswing in exports. Thanks to the convenient packaging, tubes of hot pepper paste (80g) are the hottest selling item these days. Pine-gochujang, which is a hot pepper paste with pine mushrooms, is a hit in Japan. But this year its export is on hold because the harvest of pine mushrooms is poor in Korea. Mr. Jung says, “We could use imported pine mushrooms but we stick to the principle that all Jookjangyeon sauces are made 100 percent with the ingredients produced in Korea. So we cannot help but temporarily stop the production of Pine-gochujang. To us, the trust is ahead of profits and we ask our consumers for understanding.”
Supplied to a Michelin Star Awarded Korean Restaurant Danji
Jookjangyeon sauces are mainly exported to Japan and the US. In Japan, Jookjangyeon sauces are sold in Seoul Market and K-Plus stores, the two largest supermarkets for Hallyu (Korean culture wave) foodstuff in Japan. They are also supplied to the famous Korean restaurant Saikabo to be used as ingredients. Since June of last year Jookjangyeon, in cooperation with local distributor Suji’s, has been developing a new sauce product especially for the Japanese people.
In the US, Jookjangyeon sauces are exported to large Korean supermarkets such as Hanam Chain and Hanyang Mart. The sauces have already obtained FDA certification. What’s more, Jookjangyeon sauces are supplied to Danji (the first Korean restaurant to be awarded one star by the Michelin Guide) where it is actively promoting the taste and excellence of Korean traditional sauces to New Yorkers.
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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