Onggi have finally arrived in Cockatoo!
We have imported 20 onggi directly from Korea. This will enable us to store our homemade Korean ferments such as doenjang, gochujang, and ganjang in these breathable clay jars, which play a significant role in preserving the flavour and quality of the fermented condiments stored within, contributing to the unique taste and character of Korean cuisine. Making in-house condiments from scratch for Korean restaurants has always been deemed challenging and financially unviable due to the large space it requires and the lengthy preparation time involved, making it difficult to turn into immediate revenue. Thanks to our unique setup and business model, we feel very privileged to be one of the very few, if not the only venue in Australia that can create our own Korean flavors using traditional methods and techniques.
So, what exactly is an Onggi?
옹기 (onggi, or oongi) are traditional Korean earthenware jars or pots used for fermenting and storing various foods and condiments. These clay vessels have been an integral part of Korean culture and cuisine for centuries. Onggi are known for their breathable clay walls, which allow for natural air circulation and humidity control, making them ideal for the fermentation process.
Onggi come in various sizes and shapes, each designed for specific culinary purposes. They are commonly used to ferment Korean staples like kimchi, soybean paste (doenjang), red pepper paste (gochujang), and soy sauce (ganjang). The porous nature of the clay helps regulate temperature and moisture, creating an optimal environment for the growth of beneficial microorganisms during fermentation.
The art of making onggi is a highly skilled and labor-intensive craft, passed down through generations. Despite the challenges posed by modernization, onggi continue to be valued for their unique contribution to preserving and enhancing the flavours of Korean cuisine.
Who's our Onggi maker?
The Gochang onggi makers have been crafting onggi for seven generations. While using chemical glazes results in pottery surfaces that are smoother and glossier, which consumers prefer, Gochang pottery adheres to the traditional method, using a 1:1 ratio of pine leaf ash and clay to create eco-friendly glazes, making 100% living, breathing onggi (earthenware pots).
"The process of making onggi is complex and delicate, with many aspects that cannot be mechanized, requiring the skilled hands of individuals. Therefore, it is a very challenging job. However, as the 7th generation in this business, we take great pride in continuing our tradition and carrying on the legacy.”
-Onggi master, Bae Yong Kwon
We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share our culture and heritage through food with the Australian audience. Our goal is to introduce the authentic flavours of Korean cuisine to the already dynamic food scene in Australia. Through our culinary creations and traditional techniques, we aim to provide a unique and memorable dining experience that showcases the rich tapestry of Korean flavours and traditions.