TNB Night Owl – Kimchi

Various kinds of kimchi. Photo by the National Institute of Korean Language. (CC BY-SA 2.0 KR)

Do you have adventurous taste buds? Do you like spicy foods? I’ve never dreamed of being a food critic, but here we are. After many months of reading about kimchi, wanting to try it, yet hesitant, and at the same time full of anticipation, I’ve finally done it and it was absolutely delicious.

The reason I hesitated so long to try kimchi is mostly about the disappointing early experiences I had a year ago with kombucha, which I wrote about last December. The first several bottles of the drink we tried were, in a word, revolting. Had it been up to me, that would have been the end of that. My wife, however, enjoys trying new food and drink and does not give up easily. Sampling a different flavor of kombucha each week, the weeks turned into months, and then into a year, and… surprisingly, kombucha grew on me. Some folks may like it right away, but for me kombucha was an acquired taste.

Happily, my first brush with kimchi was a complete delight. There are hundreds of different ways to prepare the traditional Korean side dish, with different ingredients. Most of these varieties are spicy, ranging from mild to extreme, but there is at least one version that’s not spicy at all. I would describe the one I had as medium-hot, or halfway between mild and nuclear. The ingredients of the ambrosia direct from the jar: napa cabbage, green onion, sea vegetable, chili pepper, sea salt, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger. With no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives (it requires refrigeration), the bright red color of the dish comes from the red chili peppers. Tasting very much like an excellent salsa, but with a substantial body, no tortilla chips were necessary though they would not have seemed out of place. The cabbage provided a satisfying crunchy texture. The heat stayed on the tongue only until swallowed, leaving only a pale ghost of a memory. At no time was a beverage needed to cool the fire. I would call this ‘just right’ spicy, but everyone has a different concept of what ‘just right’ is, so your perceptions may vary.

The 18 oz. (510 gram) plastic jar is labeled BPA free, gluten free, vegan, and non-GMO. Total calories: 170 (I ate the entire jar myself, for lunch). It’s a healthy meal:

Total Fat 0g (0% DV)
Sat. Fat 0g (0% DV)
Trans Fat 0g
Cholest. Omg (0% DV)
Sodium 280mg (12%DV)
Total Carb. 2g (1% DV)
Dietary Fiber <1g (2% DV)
Total Sugars<1g (Incl. Og Added Sugars, 0% DV)

Protein <1g
Vit. D (0% DV)
Calcium (0% DV)
Iron (0% DV)
Potas. (0% DV)

Fermented foods, including kimchi, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, yogurt, and artisanal cheeses, are good for your gut microbiome. All of these delicacies contain probiotics: living microbes that are essential for good health. Many doctors who practice functional medicine, as well as many nutrition experts, recommend fermented foods for people with autoimmune disorders.

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About Richard Doud 622 Articles
Learning is a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. No exceptions to these rules.