You cannot walk into a Korean-style restaurant anywhere in the world without coming into contact with this essential side dish. If you’ve never heard of it or tried it, let me give you a brief rundown as to what it is…
Kimchi is a traditional dish of the Koreas. It is made of vegetables (traditionally cabbage) and a variety of seasonings and then left to ferment to bring out the spiciness and flavor that so many people love or hate.
Many foreigners who come to Korea for the first time have never tried it and many hate it at first but with time, come to either accept it as part of their new life, or even love it.
My first experience with kimchi actually took place back in Canada before coming over here. A few weeks before my departure, a friend of mine took me to a Korean restaurant so I could try some of the food I would be living with over the next year (well it actually became longer but that’s for another time) and with my bibimbop came a little dish with a substance like I had never seen before. Luckily for me, I enjoyed it and so when I arrived, it wasn’t a shock for me. The shock was how many different variations to this dish there are. They have different kimchi based on region, vegetables, seasons, seasonings, holidays, preparation times – you name it, they’ve got a kimchi for it. My favorite goes by the name of “oi kimchi” which means cucumber kimchi. It’s much less spicier and more juicy than traditional cabbage kimchi.
If you’re interested in learning more, check this out – Kimchi on wiki . Also, check out this video on food (including kimchi) and foreigners in Korea.