What To Eat With Kimchi

Kimchi, the national dish of South Korea, is a traditional fermented food enjoyed by people all around the world. I eat it often at home. Especially when I make Korean dishes, like this Korean seaweed soup, as a flavorful and nutritious side dish for my family. 

Kimchi is a staple in every Korean household, no matter where they are in the world. It’s also quickly gaining popularity among other nationalities. People from all walks of life have caught on to its numerous delicious flavors and health benefits. From immune support to weight loss to gut health, even anti-aging, kimchi is one of the best foods you can eat. It’s honestly delectable on its own, but I especially love using it to enhance the flavor of other dishes.

So, today I’m sharing some of the best foods to eat with kimchi to elevate the flavor of this traditional Korean food.

What To Eat With Kimchi

A lot of Koreans eat kimchi every day. Some eat it with every meal, proving its supreme versatility. Admittedly, as much as I enjoy it, we don’t dine on Korean cuisine every day, so kimchi is more of an occasional thing.

Since not everyone knows what kimchi is, I’m going to introduce this nutrition-packed Korean staple in hopes that you’ll appreciate it as much as I do.

dishes with kimchi

What Is Kimchi?

Kimchi is technically a term for a fermentation technique, which explains why there are numerous ways to make it. Traditional kimchi is usually made with napa cabbage, gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), Korean fish sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, carrots, radishes, and either green onions or Korean chives. But one of the great things about kimchi is how easy it is to substitute or omit ingredients.

Making kimchi involves brining the vegetables first, to dehydrate and season them. Then combining the ingredients and leaving them to ferment for several hours or days, depending on the recipe you follow.

What Does Kimchi Taste Like?

Kimchi definitely has a unique, complex flavor. Not every kimchi tastes the same, but traditional Korean kimchi can be described as a little salty, a little spicy (depending on how much gochugaru is used), and full of umami flavor. 

What people tend to notice the most is the smell. After fermentation, kimchi has a pungent, sour smell. If you can get past the smell, you’ll find that kimchi is not only delicious on its own, but it elevates the flavors of other dishes too.

What To Eat Kimchi With

One of the many things I like about kimchi is the wide variety of foods and dishes you can eat it with. It’s a flavorful topping for burgers, sandwiches, pizza, and more. It can also be used as an ingredient in several spectacular Korean dishes, like the ones below. 

What To Eat With Kimchi

Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

One of the heartiest and most flavorful ways to eat kimchi is in this Korean stew. Kimchi jjigae is like comfort in a bowl – it warms you up from the inside, out. 

Kimchi stew is a staple food in Korean households. It’s surprisingly easy to make. The main ingredients are kimchi and fatty pork, like pork belly. This recipe from Maangchi shows you how to make traditional kimchi jjigae.

Kimchi Dumplings (Kimchi Mandu)

These spicy and savory Kimchi-filled dumplings are also popular in Korea. They’re made by mixing chopped kimchi with minced pork, beef, or tofu, wrapping the mixture in a dumpling wrapper, then steaming or frying the dumplings. 

You can eat them on their own, or add them to other dishes like manduguk (dumpling soup) or tteok-manduguk (tteokguk with dumplings).

Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap)

As a working mom, I love quick meals. Kimchi Bokkeumbap is Korean-style fried rice made by stir-frying kimchi, rice, and seasonings, with additional ingredients, like diced meat and veggies. The kimchi juice and sesame oil really take this dish to the next level. But you can substitute the kimchi juice for soy sauce if you’re worried about it being too spicy. The sesame seeds and green onions on top add the perfect finishing touch!

This 15-minute kimchi fried rice is not only easy to put together, but it’s a delicious and hearty way to enjoy kimchi. 

Kimchi Udon

Kimchi udon is another 15-minute meal that makes good use of either store-bought or homemade kimchi. It’s loaded with flavor from the smoky bacon, spicy kimchi, and tangy sauce. The recipe is similar to kimchi fried rice but uses udon noodles instead of rice. Try them both and let me know which one you enjoyed the most!

What To Eat With Kimchi
Have you tried kimchi yet? What kimchi recipe are you most excited to try?

If you haven’t tried kimchi, I encourage you to give it a chance! It has the remarkable ability to elevate any dish it’s added to, and with so many options to choose from, you’re bound to find something you like!

For more of my favorite things, including recipes, travel hacks, and parenting tips, head over to the blog.

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