Kimchi is a traditional Korean vegetable side dish. This dish is made by fermenting seasoned cabbage and other vegetables. In addition to being served as a side dish, it is also served with rice. Because it has a very pleasing flavor and is also quite healthy, kimchi has recently gained popularity around the world. In fact, there is a reference to kimchi in the oldest book of Chinese poetry known to modern man. Such references have lead historians to believe that Asian peoples were consuming the dish as long as 3,000 years ago.
Kimchi is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, but its biggest benefit may be in its “healthy bacteria” called lactobacilli, found in fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt. This good bacteria helps with digestion, plus it seems to help stop and even prevent yeast infections, according to a recent study. And more good news: Some studies show fermented cabbage has compounds that may prevent the growth of cancer.
Koreans eat so much of this super-spicy condiment (40 pounds of it per person each year) that natives say “kimchi” instead of “cheese” when getting their pictures taken!
The reddish fermented cabbage (and sometimes radish) dish—made with a mix of garlic, salt, vinegar, chile peppers, and other spices—is served at every meal, either alone or mixed with rice or noodles. And it’s part of a high-fiber, low-fat diet that has kept obesity at bay in Korea.
Kimchi also is used in everything from soups to pancakes, and as a topping on pizza and burgers.