My love/hate relationship with Kimchi

Gimchi, a very common side dish in Korea
Image via Wikipedia

I was home alone. No one was around. I crept to the refrigerator, and ever so carefully reached in to get a small bowl full of my secret fix. Yes, I admit it. I am guilty. It was Kimchi!

Ever since High School, when one of my best friends who is Korean, introduced me to this classic Korean delight, I have had a love/hate relationship with Kimchi. This classic Korean spicy fermented cabbage is eaten with almost all meals in Korea.

My friend would add that “secret ingredient” to ramen noodles transforming the weak insipid broth into a spicy tasty delight. She would chop it up and stir fry it with white rice, chopped onions and egg and serve me – Kimchi Fried Rice. I was in heaven.

I love Kimchi, however “the chi” does not always love me, or rather I should say, it loves me so much that it wants to hang out and linger on my breath and body for hours on end.

I remember when I was in college, my Mid Western roommate would rudely wake me up at the crack of dawn by opening all the windows in our dorm room.

“What’s up? Why are you opening all the windows? Its freezing outside!” I said.  My roommate would just glare at me and say accusingly, “‘You ate Kimchi last night, didn’t you?!!” To which I would guiltily nod and she would continue fanning the air, “I knew it! You reek of garlic! I can’t sleep anymore because you are stinking up the room!”  😦

My husband and 2 kids also have an aversion to the “chi”. When I want to partake in this delectable delight I am forced to open all the windows and am usually banished to one room of our home lest the Kimchi smell permeate the rest of the house. Further I am forced to use TWO resealable bags to store my beloved Kimchi as unfortunately one bag is often not strong enough to keep the odiferous aroma contained.

For those of you who have not experienced Kimchi before, I warn you, it is not for the faint of heart. It is delicious, refreshing, low carb, low cal, savory, spicy and very, very, VERY garlicy fermented cabbage. The main ingredients are Napa cabbage, Korean spices and TONS of garlic. I am told that it can take up to a week to achieve the full, authentic flavor, however once it is made, it can last for months on end.

I was recently at the same high school friends house were she served me a glass of water. I took one sip and spit it right out into the glass.  “Whats wrong?”, she asked. I told her the truth. “The water tastes like Kimchi”. She has since taken my advice and double bagged the stinky garlicy cabbage.

Chow for now!


Comments are closed.