Meet the Jang Masters
Creating the deep ‘Jang’ flavor with 360 years of tradition
Families with long history have many outstanding ancestors, but also recipes for Jang (traditional Korean paste) with their own unique histories. Grand Master Ki’s Yang Jinjae head family has passed on a 360-year-old ssiganjang jar. The flavor and taste of Grand Master Ki’s Jang comes from clear and clean water drawn from 150m below surface and Damyang bamboo salts she roast herself.
The bamboo salt adds to the smooth taste of the Jang and gives a more refined and deep flavor without the strong salty taste. A lot of fermented soybeans are used in the process, and the soy sauce is not removed too much in the aging process, creating a deeper-flavored soy sauce and doenjang (soybean paste).
Traditional healthy food as royal court cuisine for the King
The Grand Master comes from a noble family with a longstanding history, giving her many opportunities to experience royal court cuisine and noble family cuisine of the Joseon Dynasty. Grand Master Kwon’s maternal grandmother met her husband Baek Nak-pyeong through introductions made by his father, Heungseon Daewongun. She learned royal court cuisine, including Jang, of the Joseon Dynasty, and naturally passed them onto the Grand Master’s mother and herself.
The history of the noble family embedded in the flavor of black jang
Grand Master Seong is a master of Daemaekjang, which is passed on within the noble families Andong Gwon Clan and Andong Kim Clan. She inherited the secrets to making Daemaekjang from her mother-in-law and regards Daemaekjang as her calling as a daughter-in-law of a noble family. It is not a easy process making Daemaekjang as it requires a lot of time, devotion and a lot of effort. It takes a deep spirit of craftsmanship, but Grand Master Seong believes that her work is important in keeping the tradition alive to continue the taste and flavor of ancestors.
The taste of Papyeong Yun Clan’s cuisine praised by Emperor Gojong
Cheollijang is passed on within the yangban family of Papyeong Yun Clan. It is a specialty dish only found in the cuisine of the Yun family. It is not well-known to the general public, but Cheollijang requires the devotion and hard work of the maker of the Jang and uses rare and valuable ingredients. It was only enjoyed by the royal and noble families. Grand Master Yun wishes to preserve, pass on and let Cheollijang, which is recorded in literatures, well-known to the world.
Maintaining the taste, flavor and the unique family custom of the head family
Food Grand Master number 51, Choe, is the first to be bestowed with the title of grand master for ‘jang’ in the food category. Her grandmother-in-law passed on the recipe for Sodujang for generations. Grand Master Choe makes Sodujang in the traditional way, continuing the diversity and craftsmanship of Korea’s jang culture. She is dedicated to continuing the tradition of making Sodujang, feeling a sense of responsibility to let it be known and not be forgotten.
The pride in Korea’s Cheonggukjang
Grand Master Seo is the first and only Cheonggukjang Grand Master. She continues the traditional method of making Cheonggukjang that has been passed on for 3 generations, while developing easy-to-cook meals and convenient food customized to the dietary life of modern people based on scientific research. She is dedicated to popularizing traditional food as well as making Cheonggukjang ‘the national healthy food.’
Finding valuable meaning in daily life through Jeju’s green bean jang
Grand Master Yang says that she started to make Jejumakjang as green beans found in the Jeju Seogwipo area were commonly used to make jang and she grew up watching her grandmother and mother make jang. There are many stories and meanings if you look deeply into the taste and flavor of the region that has continued its history. Jeju especially has a food culture centered around doenjang (soybean paste). And Grand Master Yang continues the history of Jejumakjang, letting its uniqueness be widely known.
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