Kimchi is essential to the Koreans and to everyone else who has the courage to try it.
I lived in Korea until the age of ten before moving to Southern California. Having been raised in a typical Korean family, every meal consisted of some dishes and Kimchi. Kimchi is a spicy rotten-cabbage that tastes extremely spicy and has a funny smell; it is indeed, to the new-timers, almost impossible to eat. But for me I’ve been eating it for twenty years that the distinct taste and smell of it is not so distinct anymore.
Ever since I moved to California, I miss a lot of the “good stuff” in Korea that I took for granted while I was there. Kimchi, to my surprise, is one of the “good stuff” that I didn’t really appreciate until it disappeared from one of my three meals. Not that there was absence of Kimchi in Koreatown in downtown LA which is by the way the biggest Koreatown in United States; it’s just that something was missing in that Kimchi that couldn’t fill my need. The taste was not quite the same—it was either too bitter or too sweet, and every once in a moon I would lose my appetite from looking at what I label as the “wannabe” Kimchi. On top of that, this “wannabe” Kimchi did not seem to have a special power like the one from my motherland.
Many of you are probably asking yourself “what special power?” Well, to simply put, Kimchi can prevent you from a deadly disease like SARS. When the Chinese were taking various precautions from SARS like wearing masks in the public, the Koreans and I disregarded it and ate chickens anyway. Now that may seem ignorant to a lot of you, since China is Korea’s neighbor, but we believed that Kimchi in our daily diet has prevented us from SARS even though the chances of acquiring the disease was relatively high. And although this fact is not scientifically proven, it was a common belief we shared.
About two years ago, there was a huge publicity in Korea about a forty-year old fearless Korean man who reached the peak of Mt. Everest alone, and the secret to his successful climb was, you guessed it, Kimchi. The man gave much credit to Kimchi and how it had kept him away from hunger and exhaustion. There was no protein in his diet, no booster, and absolutely no steroids to supplement his meals, just rice and Kimchi had done it for him.
As ironic as it may seem, Kimchi, yes a rotten-cabbage, is a healthy choice that I recommend to everyone. Although the taste might throw you off at first, after a few attempts, you might actually start developing the taste for it and possibly become your favorite dish. As for me, I like to have Kimchi sandwich in the morning to start my day off. OK just kidding!
And so this is why I believe in Kimchi.
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