It has been said by all Koreans that no meal is complete without a side dish of kimchi. This fermented Korean delicacy is created from cabbage, radishes and a range of spices and seasonings. While its pungent taste can be completely off-putting at first, those who continue to consume this red dish soon fall in love with its acquired taste. In the past people have suggested that it has the power to stop cancer and has protected Koreans against bird flu! Whether this is true or false is clearly speculation, but here are some fun facts about kimchi!
Kimchi in Space
Kimchi was actually sent into space with Yi So Yeon in an attempt to turn it into space food. A research effort was made to see if they could remove the bacteria in kimchi after being exposed to radiation and if the odor could be removed without affecting the taste.
South Koreans consume 40 pounds (18 kg) of kimchi per person annually, which is a staggering amount. However, once you take into consideration the mixtures of food that kimchi is used in, it’s not surprising at all!
There is a cartoon about Kimchi
If you haven’t heard about the Kimchi Warrior, then you’ve been missing out on this hilarity. This cartoon has been taken negatively on YouTube because of its ridiculous characters named after famous Korean foods. If you’re a teacher in Korea, then its best to show your students this cartoon, as even they find its odd and have never heard of it! Either way, it shows how serious Koreans are about Kimchi.
“3, 2, 1 Kimchi!”
Westerners are accustomed to saying “cheese” before taking a photo, but Koreans have opted to say “kimchi” before their selfies! What do they say in your country?
The Kimchi Field Museum claims that there are around 187 historic and current varieties of kimchi, but due to the different array of cabbages, radishes and other vegetables, as well as the different preparation methods, the number of kimchi variations is truly uncountable!
White kimchi (백김치)
Baek kimchi (백김치) also known as “white kimchi” isn’t spicy and was the original form of kimchi. After the 18th century red chili pepper was introduced to Korea and created the associated redness in kimchi today!
The process of fermenting kimchi is not only for improving the taste but for also developing healthy bacteria such as Lactobacillus that help your stomach and intestines work at ease. Probiotics, that are often more commonly found in yogurt, help aid the digestive system to keep it functioning.
A lot of essential vitamins and nutrients that the body requires to be healthy can be obtained from solely eating Kimchi. It’s cram packed with vitamin A and C due to the red hot pepper powder that is used in creation. It’s said that these vitamins have the ability to combat cancer cell growth.
Kimchi Crisis of 2010
Due to a poor harvest of cabbage during the spring of 2010, after an extremely cold winter, the price of domestically-grown cabbages that were originally selling for 88p in previous years rose all the way to £8.75. This caused the government to intervene in order to stop prices rising so that lower class citizens could afford this “necessary food.”
Kimchi Never Expires
Kimchi is often stored in giant traditional pots outside because kimchi has been said to last over 3 years before turning bad! Much like a good whisky, Koreans think the more fermented a piece of kimchi is, the better!