Best flash mob by middle-aged Korean women in a Korean market
February 1, 2022: Snake Day. Candy making day. World hijab day. National Alaska Baked Day. International day of face and body art. And on a historic day when the Lunar New Year coincided with the first day of Black History Month – and a troop of ajummas in uniform from head to toe – perms, visors, baggy vests, patterned pants and shoes practices – descended like a flash mob dance on the food court at Joong Boo Market in Glenview and served up a healthy dose of joy, sass and floral/cashmere clash with chapchae, buns and soondubu. Stand aside for your elders, BTS, the ajummas have arrived!
But what is an ajumma? Korean for “middle-aged woman,” the average ajumma is known for her tenacity, her obsession with her children, and her sharp elbows in a crowd. Like gochujang, it is spicy, robust, ubiquitous and a little aged. And now, she’s also an icon for a brotherhood of shopping, dining, hip-hop dancing sensations who care for their families and care for each other.
“We are the new generation of ajummas”, says Ajumma Climb founder Joanne Yum Gutierrez. “A good chunk of us are Korean adoptees raised by non-Korean families – and we’re not all Korean. Ashley Jackson, who choreographed the flash mob, is a black single mother and ajumma. If you’re a middle-aged woman…if you struggle, if you push yourself and sacrifice for others, if you work hard, if you meet these criteria, you are an ajumma.
If you are an ajumma looking for other ajummas, you can apply to join the crew here.
For an idea of the food at Joong Boo, take a look here.