What does kimchi taste like? Discover the best ways to eat it!

If you never had it, you might be guessing what it’s supposed to be like. Some people are not aware of it but it doesn’t always have to be spicy. You can do a less-spicy version in case you don’t like tangy food. If that’s the case, then what does kimchi taste like or what it should be like? Does kimchi taste like sauerkraut? Here’s what we know so far about this well-loved Korean food:

Kimchi is a spicy fermented pickle from Korea. You can use any vegetable in making kimchi but if you want to follow what everybody’s doing, simply ferment cabbages. It’s the most common vegetable used for making kimchi. But if you don’t like cabbages, you can use radish, cucumber, and mustard leaf.

Did you know that kimchi is created during the 1st Century BC in Korea? People at that time had to rely on preserving food to have a food supply during winter. Kimchi, being one of the easiest to ferment foods, became a staple in Korean households.

What does kimchi taste like?

It’s tangy but in a good way. If you suppose kimchi tastes bad because it’s preserved, it can be because there’s a mistake in the fermentation process.

Spicy kimchi is a common type of kimchi. But for those who are not huge fans of spicy food, it’s possible to make it without chili powder. In fact, the original kimchi is only salty and not tangy. The use of chili powder only began a hundred years ago.

Non-spicy kimchi also called Baek kimchi only has salt, garlic, and ginger for the brine. This is a nice option for people who can’t eat spicy food because of medical reasons or for kids who want to give it a try.

Kimchi is always being compared with sauerkraut, a kind of fermented food that originated in China. Does kimchi taste like sauerkraut? Yes, they can be almost similar in taste but sauerkraut is a little less salty than kimchi. It has a bit of tarty flavor in it and you can easily distinguish the flowery smell. Despite their similarities, there’s an actual difference between the two. They don’t have the same texture and it’s believed sauerkraut is healthier than kimchi.

If you already bought spicy kimchi at the grocery, reduce the tanginess by rinsing it with water before eating. It’s not as tasty but it’s less salty and less spicy that way, making it healthier and also more kid-friendly. 

What does kimchi go with?

You can eat your kimchi without any accompaniment but traditionally, it’s a side dish so it’s normal to consume it with any main dish. The best thing about kimchi is you can pair it with almost any savory dish you can think of.

In many Asian countries, kimchi is eaten with sushi. Many people like eating their kimchi with noodles and any pasta dish. It can also serve as viand to fried rice. If you’re eating anything fatty or greasy like deep-fried meat, adding kimchi on the side makes your meal wholesome.

Aside from its use as a side dish, you can use it as an ingredient to most dishes. You can add it to stir fry, scrambled eggs, fried rice, stew, quesadillas, and burger.

Have you heard of kimchi juice? This drink is a combination of shrimp and fish sauces as well as preservatives also used in making traditional kimchi. It’s recommended to be taken in small amounts to help ease digestion. It’s more of a medical juice than a drink to be taken to rehydrate the body.

What are the benefits of eating kimchi?

A serving of kimchi can provide 18% vitamin C, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and 14% calcium. Aside from these, it’s also loaded with Vitamin A, iron, and antioxidants. It has no fat content and only comes with 17% calories. Because of its low-calorie content, it’s best for people trying to lose weight.

Kimchi is preserved but that doesn’t mean it can’t provide you with any nutrients. Since it’s a combination of vegetables and different types of spices, kimchi’s benefits are numerous. First of all, kimchi is good for gut health because it contains probiotics. Kimchi does not need to be heated, so if you’re planning to use it as an ingredient of any dish, it has to be included last. Heat can destroy the probiotics in kimchi.

If you’re suffering from digestive problems and inflammation, you can add a small amount of kimchi to your regular diet. You might have heard that kimchi makes you poop. A big part of it has something to do with the kind of vegetable you use. Cabbage is loaded with fiber and water content that aids in constipation.

Aside from its benefits for gut health, kimchi also helps in controlling cholesterol levels, risks of having diabetes, and managing weight. People who suffer from cough, cold, and flu also benefit from eating soup with a small amount of kimchi.


Kimchi is the food that best represents Korea. This fermented food is versatile because you can choose to eat it on its own or consume it as a side dish. There are many ways to enjoy kimchi and one of these is by adding it in your hot ramen.

The secret to making the best kimchi is in the fermentation process. If the kimchi tastes bad, it may be because the vegetable is brined too fast or too long. It can also be in the kind of spices used. It’s possible that the chili powder you added is no longer fresh or it’s very spicy. When storing your kimchi, always look for a place that is not directly hit by sunlight. Most kimchi products are in glass jars because plastic jars are more susceptible to heat and moisture. It should be kept in a cool area like your fridge.

Check my other article on Korean Beef Bibimbap and Egg on Ramen.

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