Modern kimchi can be traced back to something that the ancient Korean people knew as ji. This dish was similar to the most common varieties of kimchi we see today in that it came in the form of pickled napa cabbage. It was mostly a practicality, in that the lack of sophisticated refrigeration made the preservation of vegetables difficult.
This early kimchi remained more or less the same until the twelfth century. It was around this time that people began to experiment with adding new ingredients to their recipes. The most significant of these innovations came about in the seventeenth century, when traders from Portugal finally brought the Brazilian red pepper to Korea. This would lead to the gochujang red pepper paste that has become such a significant fixture in Korean cooking, and is responsible for the distinctive red coloration that most kimchi has today.
Today, Korean historians have identified nearly two hundred distinct varieties of this ancient favorite, encompassing regional recipes and innovations from throughout the ages. If you’ll like to get a taste of this treasure of Korean culture, come and visit us at our Lynnwood Korean BBQ.