Ahhh Kimchi, a Korean export that beat the Hallyu wave over to the west.
What is it?
Kimchi is a traditional fermented vegetable Korean side dish. It is the national dish an remains a staple food item in Korea to this day.
Primarily you will See Kimchi made from Cabbage and a common variety is Poggi Kimchi. Other varieties include Kkadugi (Radish Kimchi), Oi kimchi (Cucumber Kimchi) and Bok Choi Kimchi although the number of varieties seems almost endless.
It was deleveloped in the 7th century as a way to preserve vegetables, especially important over the winter. It would have been stored in the ground in earthenware jars pre-refrigeration although the fermentation is now regulated by storage in a fridge.
In the 17th Century the red pepper was introduced today and allowed Kimchi to become the dish we recognise today.
Kimchi has a very distinctive odour and one that people who have not grown up with may frind off-putting, (It is fermented vegetables after all!)However, If you can get past that it makes quite a delicious accompaniment to Korean food. Kimchi has a spicy taste and can be made up to be less or more spicy dependant on taste.
I won’t lie to you it doesn’t really go with a lot of western foods, so you will probably only want it with your Korea (or Japanese) food.
Some Kimchi tastes better fresh and some fermented longer, if the odour particularly offends your senses it’s always best to go with fresh Kimchi where the Odour will be significantly less.
Kimchi is packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, whilst also having a low calorific count. It was linked (loosley) to increased immunity to bird flu in birds during a study and varying magazines the world over have named it among the ‘worlds healthiest foods’.
Conversley, one study has shown that excessive Kimchi consumption could lead to increased risk of gastro-intestinal cancer.