Spice is the variety of life

kimchi

Do you know kimchi, Korean pickle?  Well you should do, because apparently quite a large number of people in this world claim that they cannot live without it, even in outer space.  Kimchi is widely available in Japan – indeed, many supermarkets have whole shelves devoted to the stuff – but it tends to be mass-produced, and on the mild and sweet side, unlike the fiery hot stuff consumed in Korea.   Until recently I’d never tried the real stuff before. 

A couple of months ago I started tutoring a bunch of Korean kids in a working class district in Osaka.  I go there every Wednesday evening, and although I like the work, frankly I don’t make a lot of money for my efforts.  The kids try their hardest.  Their tired parents – most of whom work in factories – come and pick them up at 7pm.  They are very grateful to me, and they show it by giving me small gifts every week, mainly of food.  Last week I was given a beautiful fruit cake and a jar of home-made kimchi.  When I got home, I sacrified the cake to Sonbeam (what choice did I have?  When do I ever have a choice?) and reluctantly sampled the kimchi with rice for dinner.  What a lovely surprise I got!  It was the real deal, hot and spicy, none of this pussified Japanese stuff.  In fact, it was so good that if I had a mind to sell it here in Kobe, I would probably make a lot of money. 

According to research, kimchi has multitudes of health benefits.   But that’s not the reason I eat it.  I just really like the stuff.  You should give it a try.

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4 comments on “Spice is the variety of life

  1. Karen says:

    I think I have tried it. Apparently I wasn’t impressed. We have no shortage of hot spicy stuff here in Texas, though.

  2. Petra says:

    I hear you, Miko, about the “real” stuff.

    Kim Chi with rice = paradise.

    Luckily we get everything here in L.A. and with Korea Town just down the road (okay, 10 minutes drive) I never have to settle for the fake blah versions.

    William can’t eat it – he swears it burns his taste buds away. Men are wimps, when it comes to really, really hot food. 🙂

  3. Miko says:

    Kimchi goes really well with ramen, too. Just place atop the noodles and enjoy.

  4. Petra says:

    I’ll try that – sounds yummy.

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