Some truly blogtastic complaining from Zhang Huiqiang, the associate director of the Museum of Sichuan Cuisine, about the registration of kimchi on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list:
“Technically, kimchi originated from Sichuan pickles,” said Zhang. “It’s like the offspring has stolen the glory belonging to its ancestor.”
And on Chinese social media:
“Our Sichuan pickles taste much better than Korean kimchi. They have a longer history and are more diverse!” Claire Li wrote on Sina’s microblog, Weibo.
Parting shot from Zhang:
“I don’t worry that Unesco won’t list two similar items,” Zhang said. “Ours is better, keep that in mind; if they can recognise a good one, why not a better one.”
According to a JoongAng Ilbo piece from 2011, Sichuan’s butt-hurt pickle-makers have been trying to push this line for a couple of years now. Interestingly enough, Sichuan pickles are fermented in a clay jar, much like Korea’s kimchi, although the pickles’ sterile fermentation contrasts with the lactic acid fermentation used in kimchi, German kimchi (referred to in some places as “sauerkraut”) and yogurt.
Pro tip: Russian dill pickles go great with buuz.