Kimchi - Regional Variations and Its Multifarious Traits
Regional Distinction and Separate Kinds
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From historical times until now, gimjang, or kimchi-making, was Koreans’ yearly routine before greeting winter. Kimchi boasts many different kinds, each of which possess distinctive characteristics with varying ingredients and recipes. These distinguishing factors derive from regional idiosyncrasies- they reflect each region’s own taste preference. Displaying different colors, ingredients and appearance, each and every kind portrays manifold facets of Korea’s traditional and cultural icon, kimchi.
A broad generalization concerning all kinds of kimchi is that kimchi from the south of the peninsula tends to be saltier with a stronger taste than that of the north. This is largely due to the climate difference within the peninsula: the northernmost region has a cooler temperature, thus necessitating less sodium replenishment than the southern region. In a warmer climate, fermented food—or any food in general—is prone to spoiling. Salt is not only favorable when it comes to preventing such harm, but also cooperative in helping people to balance the salinity rate within their body by replenishing lost-salt from sweating in warm regions.
Starting off with Seoul and the Gyeonggi province, which are geographically adjacent and therefore almost bear no difference, those regions pinpoint elegant semblance and a moderate intensity of salinity. This is because these areas, especially Seoul being the capital city, used to be inhabited by royal families and nobles. Not only did they demand an opulent look of the dish, but they also preferred a flawless taste. Representative kinds of kimchi from these areas include whole cabbage kimchi (tongbaechu kimchi), wrapped kimchi (bossam kimchi), cucumber kimchi, soy sauce kimchi (jang kimchi), and cubed radish kimchi.