Cui Shunji is one of over 2 million ethnic Coreans in China. With her little son, she rents a small concrete hut in an industrial town somewhere in the north of China. Day and night, she is disturbed by the shouting and giggling of the prostitutes who work by the railway. Her husband is in jail. Without any official permit, Cui Shunji scrapes together a living by selling kimchi, the Corean national dish. Things change slightly to her advantage when she gets hold of a permit from a friendly policeman, and also has an affair with the married Kim, another Chinese Corean.
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