As far back as I can remember, kimchi (김치) has had a role in my daily diet. Our family ate it with every meal and perhaps it was this constant presence that made me unaware of the aroma that came with the dish. It wasn’t until I was in college, when kimchi didn’t have such a big role in my diet, that I began to notice the unavoidably pungent scent that accompanies the dish.
There really is no good way to escape the smell. Even if you’re not consuming it, the scent will overpower you (unless you’re used to it, of course). As much as I enjoy the staple in Korean cuisine, I have to admit that the smell can be quite overwhelming. Now there is someone who promises the taste without the pungent scent. Kim Soon-ja of South Korea has created a freeze-dried kimchi that is absent of the odor that many may find offensive.
I admit that kimchi has a strong scent, but as a person who has a love-love relationship with food, I have come to appreciate the total experience of whatever I am consuming. And for better or worse, scent is a great big part of the whole food-ing experience. The same goes for my enjoyment of kimchi each time I consume it – the scent is part of the whole package. Maybe for some, the lack of scent will open them up to trying it, taking it to more places and so on. But I’d much rather have the kimchi as is, with the pungent scent and all.
Writing about kimchi has me feigning it now. Better go visit the mother so I can get a new batch of home-made goodness!