Kimchi can be traced all the way back to the Three Kingdoms of Korea(57 BC~ 676 AD), where a pickle jar is mentioned in historical records. Fermented vegetables were commonly eaten during this time period, and they continued to be enjoyed during the Silla dynasty between 57 BC and 925 AD. Kimchi began as a popular way to store and ferment vegetables during the cold winters that Korea often experiences. In the past, the cold weather led to many Koreans dying of starvation, but kimchi was one of the foods that helped them to survive during this time.
Kimchi was originally made in the ground within a brown ceramic pot called an onggi. During the early history of kimchi, it wasn’t typically a spicy dish and didn’t use the garlic or chili peppers which are so common today. In fact, chili peppers weren’t introduced in East Asia until the early 17th century, as they were considered a New World crop. It was only in around the early 19th century that chili peppers were added, and the recipe became more similar to what we know and love today.
During the Vietnam War, kimchi became increasingly popular and was used as a ration for the troops assisting in the war. This dish is eaten regularly now by the general public in Korea but is also enjoyed by Koreans around the world. You’ll find kimchi served in most Korean restaurants, and it’s one of Korea’s most famous foods. When you think of kimchi, you might think of the fermented cabbage dish that is usually served as part of a typical Korean dish. However, there are 250 different types of kimchi you could try, all made with different vegetables.
Some of the kimchi dishes on offer even include meat and fish in their ingredients. You’ll find that many have the pepper flakes that we typically associate with kimchi, however, others don’t have a spicy flavor at all. However, all of the kimchi dishes you’ll try have a complex flavor and are known for being a healthy addition to any meal. White kimchi is a great option for anyone who isn’t so tolerant of spice, as it doesn’t use any hot pepper flakes. You’ll also find more watery kimchi, such as dongchimi, which is made from round radishes.
Kimchi is a quintessential Korean dish, which you must try during any visit to Korea or when dining at a Korean restaurant. You’ll find that with so many different varieties on offer, there is something to suit everyone’s taste buds. With its long and fascinating history, it’s a part of Korean culture and cuisine that lives on thousands of years after its first introduction.