As we become familiar with various cuisines from all over the world we are introduced to traditional dishes from different cultures and learn to love them.
Kimchi has seen a rise in popularity in recent years thanks to its numerous health benefits and unusual taste. Trying a new exotic dish can be a little scary if you don’t know what’s in it, which is why we all want to know: what does kimchi taste like?
Kimchi is a dish that originated in Korea, where this fermented bowl of goodness is an essential part of every dinner table. Did you know that the nutritional value of kimchi has been backed up by several pieces of scientific research? Being aware of what you eat should be a major concern for all those who want to be healthy, so let’s take a closer look at the surprising benefits of this superfood.
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What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is a vegetable dish that is traditionally made out of cabbage, radish, garlic, red pepper, ginger, chilli and salt. Although there are variations of what is added to different types of kimchi, the overall list of the ingredients is usually very similar. Keep in mind that normally kimchi would also contain fish or seafood products, with the fish sauce being a common ingredient.
Nutritional Value of Kimchi
Kimchi is a staple product for people in Korea, where it would be hard to imagine any table without this traditional dish. Kimchi is also popular all over the world as a tasty side dish that provides a full supply of various vitamins and minerals. The health benefits contained in kimchi due to its ingredients and preparation method sound as if they are a little short of a miracle, but have been backed by scientific research.
Because of its vegetable base, usually cabbage or radish, kimchi is low in calories. It is also high in fibre, which is essential for digestion. As kimchi is prepared through a process of fermentation, it contains a large number of probiotics that aid digestion and promote gut health.
The list of nutrients you can get by eating even a small amount of kimchi may shed some light on its popularity. Kimchi is packed with vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and vitamin C. It is a dish full of minerals such as iron, calcium and selenium and contains amino acids and antioxidants that are so important for our health.
Kimchi also contains almost no fat or sugar, so it can be eaten as a healthy snack at any time of the day. Other ingredients include helpful components such as capsaicin, chlorophyll, carotenoids, flavonoids, and isothiocyanate. Overall, kimchi is seen as a superfood which can provide you with various types of essential nutrients that your body requires in one dish.
Health Benefits of Kimchi
As we mentioned earlier, kimchi is a great digestion aid, thanks to the fibre and the probiotics created during fermentation. The good bacteria can help balance the gastrointestinal tract and keep it healthy.
Kimchi also contains large amounts of antioxidants, which clear the body of toxins and can prevent a number of serious illnesses. They are key in the fight against free-radicals that are connected to heart disease, cancer and other conditions that come from inflammation.
The components contained in kimchi give your immune system a much-needed boost and assist in the fight against ageing.
Consuming kimchi can help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels and promote weight loss. Healthy bacteria contained in kimchi can aid in controlling appetite, balancing metabolism and reducing the amount of sugar in the blood. It has been found to have a therapeutic effect on gastric ulcers and can help fight against diabetes.
What does Kimchi Taste Like?
Knowing the benefits of eating kimchi, it is hard to resist the desire to try this miracle food.
Part of what makes this dish so unusual is the taste, so what does kimchi taste like? As you already know kimchi is prepared by a process of fermentation, which gives it the distinctive flavour loved by so many.
Powerful, strong, tangy taste
Fermentation creates a dish that has a very strong taste. It is quite sour and salty at the same time and certainly isn’t something you’ll easily forget. It makes a good addition to a number of other dishes because you can use it as a side, and it is often used in cooking to add flavour.
Cabbage, radish, pepper, carrots make for a crunchy base of staple food. You can feel that you are eating something good as you chew the juicy vegetables full of vitamins.
Spicy and hot
Kimchi is reasonably spicy and can even be a little hot due to the chilli contained in the ingredients. Ginger adds to the flavour and tanginess of the food, benefiting from its ability to give you a boost of energy. Garlic makes a powerful statement here as large amounts of it are often used in this dish.
Salty and/or sweet
Salt, umami, fish sauce are a powerful influence on the taste of the end product, creating the signature strong flavour. Sugar is also used to make kimchi, so depending on the amount of salt or sugar used you can get a sweeter tasting or salty dish.
Often fish and seafood are the added ingredients in kimchi, so it can be very fishy. Anchovies and shrimp are commonly found in this product.
One of the most important factors that were discovered recently is the bacteria that creates the original kimchi taste. Scientists explored the role of fermentation process and probiotics in achieving the specific flavour of kimchi. Here is a video of what they found:
It is difficult to choose one specific ingredient that on its own can be held responsible for the way kimchi tastes. It is a combination of all the different components that is made of as well as the preparation method that involves pickling and fermentation that together make this unusual flavourful dish.
For those of you who always wondered about kimchi, there is some good news. With more products and cuisines becoming readily available it is easy enough to find a place that sells kimchi. It is available in various stores and you can order it on amazon, and there are numerous recipes for how to make your own at home.
This dish, popular among the people of Korea as a staple part of the diet, and famous all across the world for its health properties has a taste that is memorable and pungent.
If you are considering trying kimchi, we hope that you found this article helpful. There are many health benefits that this dish can provide in addition to its unusual flavour.
As fermentation is an important part of the preparation process, you need to be aware that kimchi will have a strong fermented taste, that is similar to pickle taste. It a dish that is full of different flavours combined in a balanced way but with a bit of a punch to it. Expect something sour, spicy and salty at the same time thanks to salt, garlic, ginger and fish sauce.
An important thing to remember is that kimchi often contains fish, seafood or fish sauce. All these ingredients really make the taste very distinctive. For those of you who have special dietary requirements, you can find products that are free from fish or seafood or make your own kimchi.
The main component of kimchi are vegetables, so you can count on this dish providing the crunch as well as the goodness found in vegetables. You can expect to feel the flavour of cabbage, carrots and red peppers after they’ve been fermented which adds to the taste.
Kimchi is a full-bodied crunchy sour salty snack that is difficult to compare to any other product we’ve tried. Despite its relatively simple list of the ingredients the health benefits, it promises to provide make it seem very appealing. We hope that this article gave you some idea of what this dish tastes like.