What do you get when you combine the trends of fermented and spicy? You get kimchi (or kimchee)–a tangy and hot 4,000-year-old Korean staple that’s like a cross between a pickle and a salad.

Kimchi is showing up everywhere right now. Rightfully so, if you ask us. We love the stuff.

This post was published in November 2016 and updated in December 2022.

What Is Kimchi?

Kimchi is the national dish of Korea and has been a cornerstone of the Korean diet for ages. The word kimchi is derived from the Korean word “shimchae” which means “salting of vegetables”. Traditionally, kimchi was a way to preserve vegetables for the hard Korean winters. Women gathered together at the end of the year to make kimchi for the seasons to come. They packed the vegetables with brine and spices into jars and allowed them to ferment underground for months.

In Korea, the different types of kimchi depend on the season, region, and available ingredients. The most common vegetables used are cabbage, radish, scallion, and cucumber. The most common seasonings are spices, ginger, garlic, shrimp sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and red pepper, a new world ingredient, which is now the main ingredient for spice and heat.

Kimchi is usually served alongside a meal, like salt and pepper, or incorporated into the main course like in Kimchi Bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice), Kimchi Cigae (kimchi stew), Kimchi Jun (kimchi pancakes), and Tteokbukki (kimchi rice cakes).

It’s nutrient-rich and promotes digestion due to beneficial lactobacilli bacteria produced during fermentation.

We love the kimchi food trend because it’s versatile and adds a big, bold flavor to every meal. Plus, there’s no denying that any ethnic food trend will last longer than most.

Get Your Own Kimchi

Kimchi can be everything from vegan to not vegan, mild to spicy, and not too sour to really sour. Beyond Korean markets, you can get kimchi at conventional grocery stores, specialty food markets, and farmers’ markets. Restaurants are serving up house-made kimchi, and small-batch makers across the country are creating their own take on this old recipe. You can also make your own kimchi at home. This is a great recipe.

How We Make Good Use Of The Kimchi Food Trend

We love traditional ways of cooking with and eating kimchi. But we also like to mix it up to be more on-trend. These are some FDR kitchen favorites:

  • Kimchi Kobe Beef Hot Dogs
  • Kimchi + Jalapeno Pimento Cheese, Grilled Cheese
  • Kimchi Pork Belly Tacos
  • Korean BBQ Brisket and Kimchi Pizza
  • Kimchi Reuben Sandwich
  • Kimchi Bloody Mary
  • Kimchi Burger with Smoked Bacon + Gochujang Mayo
  • Shrimp Po’ Boy with Kimchi Slaw
  • “Corned” Pork with Kimchi + Chinese Mustard
  • Kahlua Pork, Garlic Pickles, Kimchi Sliders

….and yes, you can serve kimchi with your turkey on Thanksgiving. Try it as a topping for your leftover Turkey Reuben Sandwich on Black Friday. Kimchi might even cure what ails you from too much holiday cheer the day before!

Kimchi Bloody Mary Recipe
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  • 1 cp. Kimchi
  • 23 oz. V8 Juice
  • 2 tbsp. Sriracha Sauce
  • ¼ tsp. Wasabi
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. Sesame Oil
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1 cp. Absolut Cilantro Vodka
  • Sushi roll slice for garnish
  • Ice
  • Chilled Glasses


  1. In blender, puree the kimchi with the tomato juice, Sriracha, Wasabi, Worcestershire, vinegar and sesame oil.
  2. Strain mixture fine mesh strainer into container get as much juice as possible; you should have about 3 cups of “Kimchi Mary” Mix.
  3. Discard the rest of the solid part.
  4. Chill thoroughly, then season with salt and pepper and add vodka.
  5. Serve over ice, garnish with skewered sushi.

Try this Kimchi Bloody Mary from the chefs at FDR, and check out these farm-to-table cocktails, too.