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A Fermentation Harmony of Kimchi and Wine

A Fermentation Harmony of Kimchi and Wine

Monika Febriana
22 November 2023

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Did you know that, beyond the classic Soju pairing, Kimchi dances delightfully with Wine? These two fermented wonders boast flavors that perfectly harmonize.

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Visiting Korean restaurants has become a regular part of my routine as a devoted K-food enthusiast. Each time I step into a Korean eatery, my choice of dishes is always diverse, ranging from Jajangmyeon and Bibimbab to Tteokbokki and more. However, one item is an absolute must-have and a constant on my plate – kimchi.

What is Kimchi? 

You’re probably familiar with kimchi, a classic Korean banchan, is crafted from salted and fermented vegetables, typically featuring napa cabbage or Korean radish. An array of seasonings enhances its flavor profile, incorporating gochugaru (chili powder), spring onions, garlic, ginger, jeotgal, and more. Typically, it takes around 1-3 days for this food fermentation process.

Kimchi is often synonymous with Napa Cabbage, presenting a vibrant red appearance and a spicy kick, such as in the case of Baechu Kimchi. However, not all kimchi look the same; there are approximately 180 varieties of kimchi, each with distinct shapes and ingredients. Take, for instance, Baek Kimchi (White Kimchi), Dongchimi  (Radish Water Kimchi), Nabak Kimchi (Watery Kimchi), Bossam (Wrapped Kimchi), and more. 

World Kimchi Day

Kimchi Day was designated as November 22 because traditionally, Korean households have been accustomed to preparing kimchi around this time. Throughout history, an ancestors identified the optimal season for kimchi-making either around November 7, marking the onset of winter, or on November 22, coinciding with the first snowfall of the season.

In Korea’s central districts, the tradition is to make kimchi during the first snowfall. Additionally, the significance of November 22 (11/22) lies in the representation of each main and minor kimchi ingredient coming together one by one, culminating in over 22 symbols of effectiveness. The numerical symbolism of 22 underscores the idea that the main and minor ingredients unite sequentially, signifying the limitless health benefits associated with kimchi.

Why Kimchi and Wine Pairing Works

Kimchi is commonly served as a side dish accompanying various Korean meals. As a complement, these various dishes are typically enjoyed with Soju. However, it doesn’t mean that these foods cannot be savored with other beverages simultaneously. Surprisingly, besides Soju, wine proves to be a fitting drink to accompany the consumption of kimchi or other dishes made from fermented ingredients.

Adding a twist to your dining experience, you can explore the pairing of kimchi or other fermented-based dishes with a glass of wine. The versatility of wine complements the bold and complex flavors of fermented foods, creating a harmonious blend that tantalizes the taste buds.

Best Wine for Your Kimchi

Kimchi Mac and Cheese with Chardonnay

Kimchi mac and cheese might sound unfamiliar, but the fusion of these two dishes creates a uniquely delightful flavor experience. The creamy and savory goodness of mac and cheese combines seamlessly with the spicy and tangy kick of kimchi, resulting in a dish with a complex and satisfying taste profile. To balance these flavors, opt for a wine with a light texture and a refreshing taste, such as Chardonnay. A perfect pairing for this culinary delight would be the Donkey & Goat 2015 Lily’s Pet Nat Chardonnay.

Pancake Kimchi with Rose

Transforming kimchi into pancakes, known as Kimchijeon, is a perfect choice for an appetizer. The savory and crispy delight of Kimchijeon, coupled with the spicy kick of kimchi, makes it an ideal companion for wine. The ideal wine selection is Rose, offering a bubbly texture and the refreshing essence of orange that complements the fermented taste of kimchi. Consider Minuty Prestige Rosé as your go-to beverage to elevate your dining experience with Kimchijeon by ChanChan Korean BBQ.

Kimchi with Sauvignon Blanc

Most kimchi is made with gochugaru – red chili paste, a savory, sweet, and spicy fermented condiment widely favored in Korean cuisine. This sauce imparts a tangy flavor that harmonizes well with light wines like Sauvignon Blanc. This wine can balance the intense flavors resulting from the kimchi fermentation process. Indulge in the delightful combination by enjoying kimchi at BORNGA Indonesia with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from Kendall-Jackson Wines.

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