Restaurants & Bars 8

Kimchi

Jonathan C. | Aug 27, 2004 01:10 AM

Just a follow-up on a recent thread about kimchi. What you find in restaurants and stores is almost always not how a korean would serve kimchi. Kimchi is meant to be slightly fermented and so should have a bit of sourness to it. Most restaurants have too much turnover of the stuff for it to ever really get to the fermented stage (i.e. they are serving it "unripe"). Koreans may serve kimchi at home before it is ready but only because they don;t have any that is "ripe".

As a further aside, all those nibbles you get at the start of the meal at a korean restaurant in a typical korean household would be eaten with rice as the meal (that's why so many of the items are very strongly seasoned, to provide flavour for the rice which the actual meal. A bit of trivia... the word for rice in korean is synonomous with "food"). The concept of an "appetizer" doesn't really exisit in korean cuisine. I don't know where this practice of serving these things (collectively known as "bunchun") as appetizers came from. I suspect that it was a historical accident... the servers would bring these items and place them on the table and would go back to get the rice. In the mean time, people not realizing the typical korean way of eating took these items to be appetizers. Just a conjecture on my part.

I hope non-korean 'Hounds found this post interesting.

Regards,

Jonathan

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