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Kim-chi on Vietnamese restaurant menus - parallel evolution or inspired culinary borrowing?

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Kim-chi on Vietnamese restaurant menus - parallel evolution or inspired culinary borrowing?

kali_MM | Jun 2, 2008 11:12 AM

Kimchi seems to be on the appetizer list of almost every Vietnamese restaurant I've been too. It always mystifies me a bit - how did a Korean delight bypass China and Japan (to my knowledge), yet earn a place on a Vietnamese menu?

I have a hypothesis that it could be one of two things...

My first theory is that the Vietnamese had developed their own version of deliciously spicy pickled cabbage, and have put it on a menu with name that's familiar to Westerners like me.

My second theory is that the Vietnamese, who were inspired enough to borrow from the French in order to make submarines and pho, tried Korean kimchi, recognized the wonder of it (I agree wholeheartely with the Chowhound who call kimchi "the bacon of the vegetable world"), and immediately co-opted it for their own cuisine.

Many thanks in advance to anyone who can shed some light on my little mystery!

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