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  #1  
Old 08-27-2001, 12:23 AM
One Cell One Cell is offline
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What do you do when a Korean family moves into your apartment complex and they start cooking their Kimchi in their patio.

I don't know about you, but the smoke and the smell this stuff creates is unbearable unless, of course, you are Korean too.

Everytime they make this stuff (sometimes at 2:00 a.m.) my entire apartment stinks for 24 hours. All my clothing, the inside of my cabinets and my furniture stink for days with the smell and the sticky smoke generated by this stuff.

What do you tell these people? After all, they are otherwise very nice people, and that is their traditional food. You can't tell them to stop it. Can you?

So, what is the solution? Shall I move out? What if I get another Korean family move in next to the new apartment?

Please, can someone tell me what to do to solve this stinking problem?
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2001, 02:18 AM
mhendo mhendo is online now
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I really don't think you can tell them to stop cooking. Who knows, maybe whenever you fire up the stove and grill yourself a big steak (or whatever you happen to eat) they're all sitting in their apartment holding their noses. Personally i quite like the smell, but any smell, even if it's pleasant, can be overpowering at times. Especially at two in the morning. If their late-night cookfests prevent you from sleeping then you certainly have reasonable grounds for asking them to restrict themselves to more standard hours.

The only problem i have with your post is the implication that this is a problem peculiar to Koreans. I realise that you say they are nice people, and i'm sure you intend no offense, but the question you should really be asking is the more general one regarding the limits of shared-building protocol. The ethnicity of your neighbours should not be an issue, and neither is whether or not they are cooking their "traditional food." And some might find a little offensive your suggestion that there is some ethnic or national trait or characteristic that says that only Koreans will find the smell pleasant and everyone else will find it awful. I like the smell, and i'm not Korean nor have i ever been to Korea.

I hope my post doesn't seem hostile - that's not the intention at all. I just think that when we discuss issues like this we need to determine whether the real problem is one of ethnicity etc., or just a more simple one of working out how to live with one another in close proxmity.
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  #3  
Old 08-27-2001, 04:26 AM
Gaspode Gaspode is offline
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Since you presumably know these people well enough to have sked them their place of birth couldn't you just ask them to stop or at least give you a call and let you shut your windows before they start cooking?
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  #4  
Old 08-27-2001, 04:36 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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um, kimchee is pickled vegetables. Usually you don't bar-b-que to make it. Maybe you're thinking of something else.

Does your apartment complex have any rules about BBQ's?
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2001, 06:38 AM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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I remember when I was growing up and my family first moved to Vancouver-- I wasn't conscious of it at the time, but my family was quite racist/xenophobic. A big complaint was the smell of east indian families in our new neighborhood cooking. I remember holding my breath and nearly gagging, walking past their houses at dinner-time. It seems to me now that this was a conditioned response, as I love indian food and it's attendant smells.
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Old 08-27-2001, 08:13 AM
OxyMoron OxyMoron is offline
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Hmm, I can certainly understand having a problem with cooking smells - in my neighborhood in NYC, there's a Krispy Kreme that spent tens of thousands of dollars on fans because the neighbors were overwhelmed by donut smells 24/7.

Certainly odors are a basis for complaint, but I'd suggest that if you deal with the neighbors directly, phrase it really gently. I'd put the problem down to "smoke," rather than "smells," since everyone agrees that smoke's a problem. You might also suggest a better ventilation fan (which, if it's a rental, would probably be the landlord's responsibility), or get yourself an air filter. Focus on solving a problem together rather than immediately putting the whole burden on them - yes, they may be creating the problem, but for the sake of harmony going partway will help a lot.

If the neighbor doesn't cooperate, don't bother escalating things with him. Here in New York, at least, your legal rights are against your landlord, who's obligated to keep your apartment habitable (and that can include keeping it free from overwhelming odors). Complain to the super (if there is one), keep a diary of problems, send letters to the building manager, that kind of thing.
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  #7  
Old 08-27-2001, 08:19 AM
bibliophage bibliophage is online now
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One Cell, I changed the title of this thread from Koreans in an apartment complex to the more descriptive and less potentially inflamatory Neighbors and their offensive cooking odors [changed title].

Let's try to stick to discussing what can be done about the odors without putting undue emphasis on your neighbors' ethnicity.

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  #8  
Old 08-27-2001, 08:53 AM
tsunamisurfer tsunamisurfer is offline
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First, any complaints you lodge should omit their nationality completely. Too many people will interpret your protests as rascist and be reluctant to do *anything.*

Does your property manager restrict cooking on a patio/porch? Many apartment complexes do. If not, your choice is to turn off your HVAC at key times--or move. Neither is appealing, but it seems your only action.

Yes, some companies specialize in odor removal, but yours is going to be a continuing problem until its resolved.

BTW, in the real estate market, I've read/heard that some realtors are apprehensive about listing a home occupied by folks who cook Indian and Middle Eastern foods. The graduate accumulation of scents from the curries and assorted spices often permeate the carpeting and padding underneath, and are almost impossible to remove. (Probably the same with lots of cabbage, etc.)

I might also note that some Japanese find well-scrubbed Americans to reek of a "butter fat" smell.
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Old 08-27-2001, 11:05 AM
occ occ is offline
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With regards to people finding it "offensive" that the OP mentioned that his neighbors were Korean:

The poster went out of his or her way to be completely inoffensive, and yet certain posters still managed to have a problem with, apparently, any mention of nationality.

Kimchee is a Korean food. I know many who find the smell offensive, and it certainly has nothing to do with any feelings for or against the particular nationality; it's just a food that has a strong smell, and that we in America are not used to.

The OP mentioned the nationality because it was integral to the story; his point was that, since these people are Korean and presumably the smell of kimchee is nothing unusual to them, perhaps they don't realize that it may be offensive to him and his neighbors. He also wished to go about the matter delicately, realizing that he and his neighbors were from different cultures, and not wanting to offend them.
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  #10  
Old 08-27-2001, 11:52 AM
Threadkiller Threadkiller is offline
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Kimchee is common on patios in Korea. As China Guy noted, kimchee is pickeled cabbage (think sauerkraut with extra spices) that isn't "cooked" per se but allowed to ferment. It may be other dishes as well such as Den Jang but I digress.

I lived in Korea for two years and it does have a unique smell but I would say that it is more garlic than anything else. The key to overcoming this is to eat a lot of garlic yourself--then you don't notice the smell. For the record most Koreans say we (Americans) smell like sour milk.
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Old 08-27-2001, 04:28 PM
Doobieous Doobieous is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by occ
With regards to people finding it "offensive" that the OP mentioned that his neighbors were Korean:

The poster went out of his or her way to be completely inoffensive, and yet certain posters still managed to have a problem with, apparently, any mention of nationality.

Kimchee is a Korean food. I know many who find the smell offensive, and it certainly has nothing to do with any feelings for or against the particular nationality; it's just a food that has a strong smell, and that we in America are not used to.
Actually most posters were tipping him off that what he wrote could be interpreted as being an offensive or prejudicial remark.

And speak for yourself, not everyone in America is unused to kimchee. Maybe because there are a lot of Koreans in My town and i've had the occasion to sample it many times that i'm used to it. I've not heard people complain about the kimchee, unless it was the type that used. I'm thinking perhaps that it's not really kimchee that's producing the smell. I remember a neighbor up the street's grandmother used to dry small octopuses and squid in racks in their backyard. However it never smelled up the neighborhood.

Of all our neighbors that have the most pleasant smelling houses (food odor wise) it's Koreans, Vietnamese, and Filipinos.
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Old 08-27-2001, 06:05 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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Our yearly contract stipulates no burning outside such as bonfires or debries. You may barbeque only, if you don't get complaints from the neighbors.
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  #13  
Old 08-27-2001, 07:14 PM
Ariadne Ariadne is offline
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People are different in some ways, I wish our society would get past automatically labeling someone racist just because they point out a difference.

Your landlord should be able to do something, but be careful to phrase your request so that it's about the food, not the neighbors themselves. You really shouldn't be able to smell their cooking odors in your apartment. My boyfriend used to live next to people who ate a lot of curry, and the smell in the hallway was unbearable, but we couldn't smell it at all in his apartment. The people next door to me seem to spend all their time smoking pot, and my hallway reeks of it, but I can't smell it at all once I walk into my apartment.
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  #14  
Old 08-27-2001, 08:21 PM
Mortish Mortish is offline
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I saw a news story about exactly this in Toronto a few years back. One family was thoroughly annoyed with the cooking smells of the family next door. (The families were of different ethnic origin.) I no longer remember details beyond that, so, does anyone remember this?
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  #15  
Old 08-27-2001, 08:27 PM
bup bup is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Larry Mudd
I remember when I was growing up and my family first moved to Vancouver-- I wasn't conscious of it at the time, but my family was quite racist/xenophobic. A big complaint was the smell of east indian families in our new neighborhood cooking. I remember holding my breath and nearly gagging, walking past their houses at dinner-time. It seems to me now that this was a conditioned response, as I love indian food and it's attendant smells.
I think most kids find new food smells disgusting. Anything
your pallet isn't used to can be nauseating at that age.
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  #16  
Old 08-28-2001, 10:29 AM
handy handy is offline
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Why don't you just talk with them & ask them to do it in another area? That's always the first thing to try, a nice talk with the neighbors.
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  #17  
Old 08-28-2001, 11:33 AM
ashtayk ashtayk is offline
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I am an Indian living in the US for the past few months. One of my friends who moved out of a rental aprtment had to fork out over $1000 (yes thats right a thousand!) because the apartment complex he was living in said that they had to de-odorize the place with ozone. I thought that this was downright unfair!

I regularly pass by a McDonald's inside my local Walmart and the smell of the burgers is quite overwhelming and honestly quite repulsive. And thats because I am a vegetarian. The semll of cooking fish also makes me want to throw up. And mind you these are physical responses. The smell from a barbecue has the same effect.

My suggestion would be to speak with your neighbours in a friendly way. But don't be surprised if they come back at you with a similar reaction.
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  #18  
Old 08-28-2001, 05:46 PM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by ashtayk
...One of my friends who moved out of a rental aprtment had to fork out over $1000 (yes thats right a thousand!) because the apartment complex he was living in said that they had to de-odorize the place with ozone. I thought that this was downright unfair!
Why unfair? If I left an apartment smelling repulsive, I'd be expected to pay for the damage done to the place. I don't know that your friend was Indian or that's what the smell was, but you can't rent an emtpy apartment that smells like old macarroni and cheese, either.

Quote:
I regularly pass by a McDonald's inside my local Walmart and the smell of the burgers is quite overwhelming and honestly quite repulsive. And thats because I am a vegetarian. The semll of cooking fish also makes me want to throw up. And mind you these are physical responses. The smell from a barbecue has the same effect.
The smell of fish does that to me to. And candle aisles in stores. I avoid them. But it's a public place, so there's nothing we can legislate to stop them from offending us.

Quote:
My suggestion would be to speak with your neighbours in a friendly way. But don't be surprised if they come back at you with a similar reaction.
That's a good idea.
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