By now you’ve probably all heard of kimchi, the famously pungent and spicy national dish of Korea. Many of you have probably tasted it at some point. But not all kimchi is created equal, and in this age of mass production there may be more bad product than good on the market.
Kimchi’s history goes back almost 3000 years and evolved over time to include ingredients such as chili pepper flakes, which were introduced to Asia from the New World in the 1500’s. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different varieties of kimchi that are enjoyed by millions of fans the world over.
The main ingredients in kimchi are napa cabbage, scallions or radishes, depending on the type. The produce is usually combined with chili pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, salt, brine and shrimp or anchovy paste. And regardless of the type, all kimchi products undergo a fermentation process from which many of the healthful benefits are derived. The bacteria that forms during the fermentation process is akin to lactic acid bacterias found in yogurt, and has been shown to improve digestive functions and even reduce the risk of certain cancers. Health Magazine ranked kimchi among the top five healthiest world foods, hailing its rich vitamin content and digestive benefits.
The main thing that people associate with kimchi is the spicy heat. But for those who do not favor spicy foods, there are even “white” kimchi varieties that do not incorporate chili pepper. In fact, there is probably a kimchi for every taste, if you’re adventurous enough to find out.
The Food Channel World Market has partnered with an artisan kimchi producer, Arirang Kimchi. They have used the same authentic recipes for over 30 years, which may be at least partly why this company produces some of the freshest and tastiest kimchi in the United States. I can personally attest to the bracingly fresh taste and quality. As I was growing up, my mother made kimchi at home long after most women in her generation started buying it from the grocery store. However, when we were in between batches of her kimchi and in need, she would only buy Arirang Kimchi, jokingly saying it ranked a close second to her own. It was always incredibly delicious.
For those that haven’t yet tried kimchi, there really is a whole new world of flavor awaiting you. There are many reasons to include kimchi in your diet, but the best is simply the taste. And for those of you who are already familiar, you owe it to yourself to try the superior kimchi now available nationwide on The Food Channel World Market.
Go ahead… you’ll thank me later.