A huge Korean population lives in the far western section of London.
New Malden in Kingston is now known as London’s little Korea.
About 20,000 Koreans are living in New Malden, making it Europe’s most diverse region for Koreans.
Chuseok, the Korean Harvest Festival is held every year. The city’s ancient marketplace is full of music, taekwondo, and food displays.
A chef by profession, Hyungsoo Yim has been a resident of New Malden for many years now.
He said, “To me, it is much more comfortable than living in Korea at the moment because now I have good neighbors in Kingston,”
“I have a good community. It’s not just Koreans, I have many Indian friends, Chinese friends, I have English friends, people from many countries all around the world.
“We always try to contribute to each other’s cultures and it’s about having fun through exchanging our culture.”
The Korean population holds a series of events throughout the year in Kingston, including the New Malden Street Festival.
It involves Korean food, K-pop and Korean traditional dance.
Chef Yim added, “We have a big community, and also we are trying to contribute to this country. We are always exchanging our cultures. So I think it is a very good chance to understand our cultures and those of our neighbors.”
His collection of basic recipes have been created to help people make kimchi in the UK using ingredients seen in the supermarkets.
He went on to say: “The Kingston Adult Education Centre holds regular Korean cooking class, It’s about 7 – 9 pm every Wednesday. It includes the introduction of several Korean foods. But it is not just food, I am also showcasing the Korean culture to them.”
It is limited to 10 students, operates like school terms and students build their Korean cooking skills all year round.
Mayor Margaret Thompson of Kingston was also present at the Korean Festival this year and lauded the Korean group contribution to the community of Kingston.
“These festivals bring people together progressively and this interaction and communication and a greater understanding of one another display the diversity here in Kingston.”