Sourced from South Korea's west coast, this sea salt is packed into winter bamboo and roasted 3-4 days over a 700°C pinewood fire. At the end of the roasting process, the bamboo is completely burnt off and turned into ash, leaving behind salt columns that are then powderized and packaged. What results is crisp, lively salt with a subtle but powerful sweetness imparted by the bamboo, a refreshingly distinct finishing touch to virtually any dish.
Based in Damyang, South Korea, the Kisoondo family has been making traditional jangs (Korean sauces and pastes) for almost four hundred years. Master Ki Soon-do, the matriarch of the family, helms their operations today. Every aspect of her process is done traditionally and meticulously, using nothing but soybeans, bamboo salt, and spring water. The only other ingredients are time and onggi, the earthenware jugs where the sauces spend years fermenting. In southern Korea, ongii are stout and rounded, whereas northern climates tend to utilize taller, narrow urns that respond more effectively to the cold. Their material is porous enough to regulate moisture and temperature throughout the years, as the large blocks of soybean paste separate, forming both doenjang (soybean paste) and sauces like this one. While the five-year mark represents the minimum age for Kisoondo’s oldest commercially available jang, some ongii carry sauces for much longer, set aside solely for ceremonial circumstances. With such deeply entrenched reverence for the process and the unmatched results it yields, any dish incorporating Master Ki’s jinjang feels ceremonious in its own way.
Damyang, South Korea