DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA
Established in 1994, family-owned Kookwanmo has made its name through its quality black vinegar, brewed traditionally. Combining a brown rice base with only natural, and local, ingredients, the vinegar mixtures are aged in traditional Korean earthenware urns for at least three years in order to create the deep color that is unique to black vinegars.
More about Black Vinegar
Vinegar has long been a staple in Asian cuisine, especially in Japan, China and Korea, where it is typically fermented with rice, grains and sometimes fruits and herbs. Over time, the mixture matures from a light blonde to a deep caramel color; black vinegar achieves an inky tint similar to soy sauce.
Unlike Chinese black vinegars, which typically use grains such barley, malt, or bran, Kookwanmo's black vinegars are similar to those of Kagoshima, Japan, in that they exclusively use brown rice. All of Kookwanmo's black vinegars are aged for at least three years, some up to eight, ensuring that they ferment fully. Though flavor depends on the specific fruits and herbs added, black vinegars are typically more assertive than other rice vinegars. They can be diluted with water and consumed as drinking vinegars, used in stirfries, or as dipping sauces, either on their own or mixed with soy sauce.