Kimchi is a Korean staple and is served with nearly every meal in Korean cuisine. The spicy side dish has become synonymous with Korean people and is growing in popularity around the world. While the taste may seem odd to many at first, the taste for it is quickly acquired by many. Folk lore and urban legends tell of how kimchi has prevented cancer, cureds the sick, and is essential in everyday life. So, it is no surprise that Korea has researched their national food extensively, not only in regards to the their health benefits, but to their history and relation to popular culture. Here are 11 random facts about Korea’s mainstream dish, kimchi!

korean-kimchi-probiotics

1. Kimchi contains a great deal of probiotics, particularly lactobacilli. Probiotics are a natural digestive bacterium that helps keep the digestive system functioning at tip top shape. At the end of the day it helps you clear out the ol’ engine with ease.


korean-kimchi-red-chili-flakes

2. The red hot pepper powder found in Kimchi is full of vitamin A and C which aid in the prevention of cancer cell growth!


korean-kimchi-in-bowl

3. When the red delicious side dish is fermented for an ample amount of time it will also create a large amount of antioxidants, which have been shown to slow the aging process of cells. In other words, your skin will look younger!


masses-making-korean-kimchi

4. The average Korean consumes about 40 pounds (18 kg) of kimchi each year!


variety-korean-kimchi

5. Officially there are over 187 different types of kimchi! However, since it can be made with a variety of cabbages, radishes, and other vegetables, the number of kimchi dishes is truly uncountable! Everyone has their favorite type and even then the different styles can vary depending on your preferences!


white-korean-kimchi

6.  Kimchi was not always red! In fact it was white! Red chili pepper was first introduced to Japan through Portuguese sailors and later introduced to Korea around the 18th century. It was then that we began to see the red color that we associate it with!


korean-kimchi-stock

7.  Kimchi was originally made with only two ingredients cabbage and beef stock! Not so tasty, but it had to start somewhere!


korean-kimchi-with-korean-astronaut

8. The first Korean female astronaut, Yi So-Yeon, brought kimchi up with her to space to eat, but bringing the dish was also used for scientific research. Scientists (and the nation) were curious about the possibility of killing the bacteria in the dish and reducing its odors without sacrificing the great taste!


korean-kimchi-jars

9. Kimchi lasts a very long time. Prepared and stored well, it has the potential to last up to three years (and in the right conditions, even longer)!


making-korean-kimchi

10. In 2010 there was a “Kimchi Crisis!” Bad weather halved the amount of Napa cabbage normally produced and caused the price to rise by almost 6 times (about $2.50 to $14.00). The government had to step in and subsidize the cabbage for its citizens.


korean-kimchi-fridge

11. Koreans are so serious about their kimchi that they have invented special refrigerators that come with custom storage containers, maintain the perfect temperature, and prolong its longevity!


Personally I love my kimchi fresh (made in the past day). What is your favorite type?

Photo Cred: Daniel_gies | Eryoni | Framboise | Haynes  | Motumboe | Riacale | Samsungtomorrow | USAG-Yongsan | Koreanet |EBarney |ColinDunn

About The Author

D Lee

D. Lee was once a work-a-holic turned explorer. He now seeks to see the world and all that it has to offer one place at a time. D. Lee is Cali bred, but is currently living in Seoul, South Korea. He enjoys trekking mountains, tasting diverse foods, and meeting people from around the world. D. Lee envisioned a consolidated place for readers to engage and sync in with Korean culture, which led him to co-founding SeoulSync.