7 things you never knew about Kimchi
A talk about Korean cuisine will never be complete without mentioning kimchi. For Koreans, kimchi is not just your ordinary side dish of sliced cabbage, red chili, radish, garlic, ginger, anchovy paste and scallions. Kimchi is actually a national symbol of Koreans’ strong and passionate character, owing to the dish’s sour and spicy taste. Not a lot of people prefer eating kimchi because of its strong taste, but Koreans certainly appreciate foreigners who have the guts to finish a plate of it.
We know that some of you are not that yet familiar with kimchi, so don’t worry because we’ve done some research for you. Impress your Korean friends with the following interesting facts about kimchi:
1. Kimchi has a lot of varieties
If you’ve always thought that kimchi is always made out of cabbage, then allow us to enlighten you. Kimchi actually has over a hundred versions that feature a whole lot of main ingredients. Some kimchis are made out of cucumber, bossam, and radish, among others. And just to clarify, the word kimchi itself actually refers to the process of vegetable fermentation and not on kimchi’s ingredients themselves.
2. It’s regional and seasonal
Koreans eat different varieties of kimchi depending on the season. If it’s winter time, then the most popular kimchi variety being consumed is radish water. The more common cabbage kimchi is consumed more during the fall, cucumber is eaten more during the summer, and green onions during spring. And as Korea is a vast country, its regions also feature different varieties of kimchi where the strength of the flavors and ingredients generally differ.
3. Kimchi can knock out major diseases
Kimchi is actually a very healthy side dish that is packed with antioxidants, important vitamins, and good bacteria. Some credible research has shown that eating kimchi can help strengthen one’s immune system to prevent the human body from contracting bird flu and some forms of cancer. Some even say that kimchi is so healthy it will lower your risk of having a heart attack and diabetes. Keep these in mind, folks, whenever you’re initially turned off by the smell of kimchi. This side dish is actually very good for your body!
4. No refrigerators = kimchi
Kimchi came into existence because Koreans back in the day didn’t have refrigerators to preserve their vegetables. As a result, families gathered together and helped in the fermentation process, which involved cutting, mixing and salting of vegetables, so that they will have enough stock of vegetables to eat come winter time.
5. Separate refrigerator for kimchi
As you may already know by now, kimchi is such a highly important dish to Koreans. But it might still surprise you that Koreans purchase a separate refrigerator for storing their kimchi. Back in the day, kimchi was just stored in underground clay pots to achieve the desired temperature to complete the fermentation and preservation process. Now, Koreans buy specially designed refrigerators for kimchi that can provide the exact temperature being achieved when stored in clay pots. It also makes sense to store kimchi in a different refrigerator so that its smell won’t affect those of other goods and produce like milk, fruits, vegetables, etc.
6. Kimchi used to be not spicy
Kimchi used to be not spicy as the red pepper didn’t get introduced to Koreans until the 1500s, and the Koreans didn’t get to add this as an ingredient to kimchi until the 1800s.
7. Kimchi has already reached the outer space!
Yi So-Yeon became the first Korean astronaut to fly in space in 2008, and as you may have guessed, she brought some kimchi along with her to outer space. She even hosted a traditional kimchi dinner while she was up there! The Korean government spent millions of dollars for their space program, and included in this venture is the extensive research that was done to figure out how fermentation could be slowed down. Studies had also been conducted to determine how kimchi would behave in space and react to various outer space forces.
Do you know any other interesting facts about kimchi? Share them all below. And if through this article you suddenly experienced some craving for Korean BBQ, then Korean BBQ Online has your back! Check out our menu and see how we can serve you today.