|Kimchi, a representative food of Korea, allows us to see deeply into Korean heritage. (Korea.net DB)|
By Korea.net Honorary Reporter Hanan Salim Mohammed Ali
Kimchi is Korea’s best-known food. Koreans serve kimchi at almost every meal. People add kimchi to almost everything. If you think you know what kimchi is, you probably know only an introduction to it. There are about 200 different types of kimchi, but considering the variety of cabbage, radish and other vegetables, in addition to the different preparation methods, the number of kimchi is infinite.
Kimchi is so common that people feel a craving for it if it’s not part of their everyday life. If they take a long trip overseas, or if they’re hospitalized with imposed dietary restrictions, they need their kimchi as soon as possible. Light and cheerful, with a tang to it, kimchi is crafted through fermentation.
Kimchi is also healthy for you, because it doesn’t contain many calories. Kimchi is one of the least caloric foods in the world. Kimchi contains a large amount of antioxidants and fiber, and is an important source of vitamins A, B1, B2 and B12, as well as calcium and selenium.
People believe that kimchi is the secret to their good health, high fitness, and long life. Many people also believe that it prevents and relieves inflammation, treats respiratory illnesses, and can even help against cancer.
Kimchi is tangible, but the intangible cultural aspects are its making and consuming. This fermented vegetable dish represents the social and cultural structure of Korea. Kimchi has been the subject of literature, history and philosophical thoughts for many people, as it’s a must-eat-item, along with rice, in one’s dietary life.
Kimchi represents ritual, one’s values, symbols, knowledge, technical know-how, and the independent activity of producing and changing artistic values. This is often expressed in the phrase, ‘’The color and charm of food.’’
As for the establishment of kimchiology, the meaning and value of kimchi is based on three elements: people, time and location. Kimchi is a composite cultural phenomenon and the procedure of its production and consumption is beyond science. It’s a production process of human endeavor and social values, with historical and regional elements being combined.
Before we show our most beautiful smiles to the photographer, most of us say, “Cheese,” but Koreans like to stick to local things. Instead, Koreans say, “Kimchi,” and because of the extent of their skill in taking pictures of themselves, it seems that this method is effective.