Do you like trying new things? Parents all over the world share a common struggle with getting their children to try new foods from time to time.
Many kids like to stick with favorites they love, like chicken nuggets and pizza. However, stepping outside your comfort zone can help you discover new favorites.
Sampling the cuisines of other areas of the world can expose your taste buds to new flavors they've never experienced. For example, have you ever tasted a delicious burrito? What about something more exotic, like jackfruit, couscous, dim sum, poi, or quinoa?
Let's travel to the Korean peninsula to learn more about one of its favorite foods: kimchi. Usually served as a side dish, kimchi is a spicy mixture of fermented vegetables and seasonings.
The most popular type of kimchi is made with cabbage. However, other vegetables, such as turnips, radishes, and cucumbers, can also be used to make kimchi.
Vegetables are sliced and seasoned with a mixture of salt, vinegar, red pepper, onion, and garlic. Other seasonings can also include anchovy paste, oysters, and dried, salted shrimp.
The finished mixture is fermented in brine in large clay jars that are kept underground in cellars or sheds built especially for storing kimchi. The fermentation process can take up to one month.
For those outside the Korean peninsula, kimchi can be an acquired taste. Its pungent smell and spicy, sour flavor takes a little getting used to.
However, Koreans love it. Many people eat it at every meal and, on average, Koreans eat 40 pounds of kimchi per person every year. Most Koreans even say "kimchi" instead of "cheese" when they get their picture taken.
In addition to being a side dish, kimchi can be mixed with rice or noodles. It's also often incorporated into soups and even pancakes. Many people also use kimchi as a topping on pizza and hamburgers.
Part of kimchi's popularity comes from the fact that it's considered one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Since it's fermented, kimchi contains many healthy probiotics that boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and aid in digestion.
High in vitamins (A, B, and C), minerals (calcium, iron, and potassium), and fiber, kimchi is a heart-healthy food that some experts believe may also help to fight cancer. Others point to kimchi as an integral part of the high-fiber, low-fat diet that has helped reduce obesity throughout Korea.