This is my first post here at Kimchi and Bab (kimchinbab). This blog is about Korea’s language, culture and what not — usually about language and culture. I’ll be blogging on a whole range of topics and forgive my ramblings if I ever do ramble.
First, here is the hangul for kimchi and bab:
Kimchi is a side-dish made of cabbage that is pre-salted and later mixed with chilli powder and fish sauce or salted seafood(젓갈 jut-gal) — hence the smell. Depending on place, person or season, leek(부추 bu-chu), radish (무 moo), oysters (굴 gool), etc can also be put in. Kimchi is known for its spicy taste and after it is made, it is usually fermented (you can eat it straightaway if you want). The taste of kimchi is richer after it is fermented.
Bab is basically rice. White rice is the main source of rice but you can also put mixed grain(잡곡 gab-gok), chestnuts(밤 bam), glutenous rice(찹쌀 chap-ssal) or beans(콩 kong) for a different taste. Mixed grain gives the rice a slight purple color when you’ve made it. Rice is used in all sorts recipes.
So. why is it Kimchi and Bab? Well, in Korea, kimchi and bab is the staple food of Korea. Without it, most people won’t go for long (at least I can’t). A good example of this is overseas students. Though a lot of overseas students say that they won’t miss their mom’s cooking when they go outside Korea, in the end they do. But above all the things they miss, they miss eating kimchi and bab. When they get their taste of kimchi they usually cry tears of joy.
Younger children these days have a tendency not to eat kimchi because it’s too spicy (or for other reasons) or it tastes funny, etc. Most parents encourage their children to eat kimchi because it is known to keep the body healthy. But whenever their moms try to offer some at the dinner table, the younger children’s first instinct is to run away. Some children stubbornly refuse bab and kimchi and eat snacks instead but it usually drives the parents crazy.
Because the taste of kimchi ranges by the person who made it, some people don’t eat kimchi just because it doesn’t taste like the kimchi they are accustomed to. I know some people who don’t eat any other kimchi other than their mom’s kimchi. The taste of kimchi varies by the person who made it. The taste also differs from place to place. There are many different types of kimchi. Another popular kimchi is mul kimchi (물 김치 mul means ‘water’), which is basically a mild tasting kimchi with a refreshing and crisp taste. There is barely any spicy taste. Mul kimchi is popular among children and adults, and it is usually eaten during summer when it is hot.
There are lots of kinds of kimchi but my favorite has to be ‘just kimchi’. Though there are many types of kimchi but the one is that is popular everywhere and even overseas is the hot and spicy one. It has another name, baechu kimchi (배추 김치 baechu means cabbage) to tell it apart from the other types.
When I was younger my mom would try to feed me kimchi. If it was too spicy she’d wash it in water or if it was too big to eat, she’d cut it into strands using her chopsticks. Most moms do the same thing. When I was little I didn’t like how the cabbage tasted in my mouth because it felt stringy and smelt grassy but the habit of refusing kimchi slowly disappeared as I found out how tasty kimchijjigae (basically a kimchi stew) and kimchibokkeumbab(a recipe that deliciously fries rice with kimchi) was. Now I cannot live without kimchi.
I hope that you enjoy your stay at Kimchi and bab. 🙂