What Is Kimchi?

In America, we tend to think of kimchi as a Korean side dish made of spicy, fermented cabbage, but the term "kimchi" encompasses a variety of fermented vegetables, such as radish or cucumber. However, the most popular type of kimchi — the one we have come to associate with the word kimchi — is baechu kimchi, which consists primarily of Napa cabbage.

Kimchi is considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet. "All three main ingredients in kimchee — cabbage, onions, and garlic — have both significant anticancer properties and significant heart benefits," writes Jonny Bowden, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Because kimchi is a fermented food, it contains a lot of healthy probiotics, which have been found to improve immunity, control inflammation, and help maintain a healthy digestive system. "Kimchi also contains high levels of vitamins (vitamin C, the B vitamins), minerals (calcium, potassium, and iron), and dietary fiber," writes Bowden. Not too bad for something so flavorful and delicious. Some experts even say that kimchi can be used to battle obesity.

Kimchi is often considered a side dish, but it can also be incorporated to a variety of dishes, such as fried rice, pancakes, cold noodles, and more. Reportedly, kimchi is so popular in Korea that instead of saying "cheese" in front of cameras, people in Korea say "kimchi!" This spicy, sour vegetable dish has a pungent smell, but trust us, with such an amazing taste and fantastic health benefits, it's totally worth it.