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Posted: 9/17/2001 9:33:08 AM EDT
On a previous thread, noticed that there was a bit of interest in this stuff. So here is a follow-up. USA! USA! USA! =================================================================== Los Angeles Times: A Korean Soul Food Goes Mainstream [URL]http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-000074846sep17.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dcalifornia[/URL] A Korean Soul Food Goes Mainstream Food: A toned-down version of the spicy dish kimchi is headed to Southland stores. It has no garlicky aftertaste. By K. CONNIE KANG TIMES STAFF WRITER September 17 2001 To any Korean worth his salt, life without kimchi--the spicy pickled vegetables that appear at every Korean meal--is unthinkable. "Like marriage without sex," says Tong S. Suhr, a Los Angeles attorney and Koreatown gourmet whose love affair with kimchi spans more than six decades. "You just have to have it." Kimchi, unique to the Korean peninsula, has been around for centuries. Now it is about to go mainstream: A 70-year-old Korean American microbiologist and food anthropologist has developed a milder version that is headed for supermarkets. Manjo Kim, who has spent a lifetime researching kimchi on three continents, says she has come up with a "global kimchi" designed to appeal to the uninitiated. Manufactured by Cheil Jedang, a South Korean company, the toned-down kimchi will be on the shelves of 200 Ralphs and Albertsons stores from Los Angeles to San Diego by the end of the month. The first of six varieties to be offered is called "Kimchi Salad Crunchi Oriental." Kim says her kimchi differs from others in that it does not leave a garlicky aftertaste and has a shelf life of up to six months. Kim, who splits her time among several Asian and U.S. cities, wrote her doctorate dissertation on kimchi at Leeds University in England and presented the first scientific paper on kimchi in English at an international conference in Warsaw 35 years ago. During the Korean and Vietnam wars, she worked on South Korean government commissioned projects to make kimchi in a form for soldiers' rations. Some experts doubt that kimchi's aftertaste can be toned down for the mass market. "I am not scientifically convinced," said food scientist Helen C. Lee, associate professor of food sciences and nutrition at Cal State Long Beach and co-author of "Kimchi: A Natural Health Food." "I'd like to try it." Many kimchi aficionados love its taste, but not its odor, prompting them to restrict their intake to weekends at home. Still, said gourmet Suhr, for some favorite indigenous Korean dishes, such as kkorigom-tang (oxtail soup), there is no substitute for the old-fashioned, tongue-searing cabbage kimchi.
Link Posted: 9/17/2001 9:34:14 AM EDT
Kimchi is most commonly made with Chinese cabbage and radish, mixed with chopped garlic, green onion, ginger, seasoned with salt, red pepper and sugar, then put into a jar to "mature." Sometimes bits of oyster, squid or baby shrimp are added to give it a more pungent taste. When the mixture starts to ferment in a jar, it bubbles, creating a taste containing five distinct flavors--hot, sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Like cheese, what causes kimchi to smell "nasty" is fermentation, Kim says. It took years to develop a technique that stops fermentation at a crucial time, she said, by using heat to inactivate microbes. Though kimchi is considered a side dish, it is the most important element of the Korean cuisine. Some would venture that kimchi is the elixir of Korean life. To a Korean, a steaming bowl of pearly white rice and a plate of kimchi constitutes a complete meal. Kim envisions a world in which kimchi is as trendy as sushi or salsa. In some circles it already is, said Hyepin Im, a Korean American venture capitalist who enjoys introducing her native food to non-Korean colleagues and clients. "Kimchi has been written up in 'In Style' magazine," she said. "If raw fish can become trendy, why not kimchi?" Rich in vitamin C, minerals and fiber, kimchi is a "functional and nutritional food," Kim said. She calls kimchi preparation and preservation "mystic wisdom" passed on from mother to daughter for centuries. "Making kimchi and preserving it is a genuine science and wisdom," she said. Kim, a consultant for manufacturer Cheil Jedang, says the firm test-marketed her kimchi in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago over two years and plans to introduce it in Europe as well. As expected, the research found Americans on the West Coast were most familiar with kimchi. The evidence of kimchi's four-century role in Korean life is abundant in the Kimchi Museum in Seoul, where hundreds of varieties of kimchi are documented, and visitors can watch kimchi-making demonstrations. Restaurants and grocery stores outside Korea offer at the most three or four basic types of kimchi--usually made of Chinese cabbage, radish or cucumber. But kimchi can be made with a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seafood. A peculiar thing about kimchi is that Koreans don't use recipes. And it tastes different from home to home. Even if one uses identical ingredients, the way it is prepared seems to influence the taste. In a ballad that has survived through the ages, a Korean bachelor sings of a maiden he wants to marry. She will know how to make tasty kimchi. Says Kim: "McDonald's in Seoul is now serving a kimchi burger. Kimchi has come of age." For information about reprinting this article, go to http://www.lats.com/rights/register.htm
Link Posted: 9/17/2001 9:49:06 AM EDT
Sounds like kimchi is a cure for constipation.
Link Posted: 9/17/2001 10:10:56 AM EDT
There are over 250 different types of Kimchi.
Link Posted: 9/17/2001 10:31:23 AM EDT
My favorite Korean foods: 1. Samgetang=one hell of a chicken soup. 2. Kalbi (many variations)= one hell of a bbq. 3. Name yung + one hell of a noodle dish. 4. Kochi= One hell of a spicy chicken shish kabob
Link Posted: 9/17/2001 11:33:40 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/17/2001 11:56:46 AM EDT
Might be a tough sell in SoCal since it's so easy to make at home and tastes better than the stuff in the jars.
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