Starship Kimchi: Korea’s National Dish Is Ready for Space Flight


韓國泡菜準備上太空


The first Korean astronaut will carry a special version of his national dish into space.

By CHOE SANG-HUN
Published: February 24, 2008



SEOUL, South Korea – After South Korea began sending soldiers to fight beside American forces in Vietnam, President Park Chung-hee made an unusual plea. He wrote to President Lyndon Johnson to say that his troops were miserable, desperate for kimchi, the fermented cabbage dish that Koreans savor with almost every meal.
南韓開始派兵到越南和美軍並肩作戰後,朴正熙大統領提出一個不尋常的請求。他寫信給詹森總統,說南韓官兵很可憐,非常想吃泡菜,泡菜由大白菜醃漬而成,韓國人幾乎每餐必備。


Chung Il-kwon, then the prime minister, delivered the letter to Washington. When he traveled overseas, he told Johnson, he longed for kimchi more than for his wife. The president acquiesced, financing the delivery of canned kimchi to the battlefield.
當時的南韓總理丁一權將信箋帶到華府。他告訴詹森,自己出國時,想吃泡菜的心情更勝過對妻子的思念。在詹森默許之下,美國資助運送泡菜罐頭到戰區。


Now kimchi is set to conquer the final frontier: space.
現在泡菜準備征服最後的領域:太空。


When South Korea’s first astronaut, Ko San, blasts off April 8 aboard a Russian spaceship bound for the International Space Station, kimchi will be on board.
第一位南韓太空人高山4月8日搭乘俄國太空船起飛前往國際太空站時,泡菜將跟著上船。


Three top government research institutes spent millions of dollars and several years perfecting a version of kimchi that would not turn dangerous when exposed to cosmic rays or other forms of radiation and would not put off non-Korean astronauts with its pungent smell.
三大頂尖政府研究機構耗資數百萬美元和數年時間,完成改良式的泡菜,接觸到宇宙射線或其他形態的輻射時不會變得危險,非韓籍的太空人也不會被嗆辣的氣味嚇跑。


Their so-called space kimchi won approval this month from Russian authorities.
他們所謂的太空泡菜在2月獲得俄國當局認可。


“This will greatly help my mission,” Mr. Ko, a 30-year-old computer science engineer who is training in Russia, said in a statement transmitted through the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. “When you’re working in space-like conditions and aren’t feeling too well, you miss Korean food.”
「這對我的任務將大有幫助,」30歲的電腦工程師高山正在俄國受訓,透過南韓航太研究中心發布聲明。「當你在如太空般的環境作業,感覺不是太舒服時,就會想念韓國食物。」


Kimchi has been a staple of Koreans’ diets for centuries. These days, South Koreans consume 1.5 metric tons a year. Until recently, homemakers would prepare the dish by early winter, then bury the ingredients underground in huge clay pots. Now, many buy their kimchi at the store and keep it in special kimchi refrigerators, which help regulate the fermentation process.
泡菜幾百年來一直是韓國人的主食。目前,南韓人每年吃掉1.5公噸的泡菜。在此之前,主婦們都是入冬就開始準備,將所有材料放進很大的陶缸後埋入地下。如今,許多人直接去店裡購買泡菜,存放在特製的泡菜冷凍櫃中,可以控制醃漬的過程。


It is hard to overstate kimchi’s importance to South Koreans, not just as a mainstay of their diet, but as a cultural touchstone. As with other peoples attached to their own national foods, South Koreans define themselves somewhat by the dish, which is most commonly made with cabbage and other vegetables and a variety of seasonings, including red chili peppers.
泡菜對南韓人的重要性可謂無以復加,不只是主食,更是檢驗文化的準則。各國人民各有愛吃的本國食物,南韓人民認為泡菜最能代表自己,最普遍的做法是用大白菜和其他蔬菜配上各種調味料,包括紅辣椒。


Many of them say their fast-paced lives, which helped build their country’s economy into one of the biggest in the world in a matter of decades, owe much to the invigorating qualities of kimchi. Some take a kind of macho pleasure watching novices’ eyes water when the red chili makes contact with their throats the first time. And when Korean photographers try to organize the people they wish to take pictures of, they yell, “Kimchiiii.”
許多南韓人表示,協助他們國家經濟規模幾十年間在全球名列前茅的快步調生活方式,大部分得歸功於泡菜使人精力充沛的特質。有些人看見首次嘗試泡菜的人在紅辣椒碰到喉嚨,被嗆出眼淚時,產生一種男子氣概的快感。當韓國攝影師想要聚集人群拍照時,他們會大喊:「泡菜!」


The developers of the “space kimchi,” meanwhile, say their research will continue to benefit South Korea in a practical way even after the country’s national pride is burnished by Mr. Ko’s historic mission.
在此同時,「太空泡菜」的開發者表示,即使在高山具有重大歷史意義的太空任務將南韓的民族自信心發揚光大之後,他們的研究仍會以實用的方式繼續造福南韓。


“During our research, we found a way to slow down the fermentation of kimchi for a month so that it can be shipped around the world at less cost,” Mr. Lee said. “This will help globalize kimchi.”
「在我們研究的過程中,我們發現一種能讓泡菜延後發酵一個月的方法,因此能以較低的成本在世界各地運送,」李先生說。「將有助於泡菜推廣到全球。」


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