Variety of fermented food korean traditional kimchi cabbage and radish salad, white and red sauerkraut in glass jars and ceramic plates over grey texture background, Flat lay, space. (Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
The Biggest Difference Between Sauerkraut And Kimchi
By Andra Picincu
While kimchi and sauerkraut may seem similar, they have different origins, nutritional profiles, and distinct tastes that are not always interchangeable in recipes.
Kimchi is a Korean side dish made with fermented Chinese cabbage, fish sauce, and other vegetables like radish, green onion, Korean garlic chives, or cucumbers.
This gives kimchi that sought-after umami flavor, along with a sour and spicy taste. However, this flavor can differ depending on the recipe used.
Sauerkraut, on the other hand, is made only with cabbage and salt. Extras like caraway seeds, juniper berries, peppercorn, and dill can be added depending on personal preference.
The cabbage used for sauerkraut must be finely shredded and fermented for less time than kimchi, giving sauerkraut a more acidic taste without a distinct umami flavor.
The longer sauerkraut ferments, the sourer and tangier it becomes. Overall, it has a more astringent taste, a simpler flavor profile, and a firmer texture than kimchi.
While sauerkraut is commonly associated with German culture, some historians say it was invented by laborers who built the Great Wall of China as a way to preserve cabbage.
Kimchi originates from South Korea and is considered a symbol of its culture. The original recipe dates back to 1145 A.D. and has more than 200 different versions today.