Love it or hate it. What is it about Korean Kimchi?

Kimchi is a central element of Korean cuisine. It is fair enough to call it a real staple in Korean kitchens. For those who don’t know, Kimchi is at its core, a dish consisting of salted and fermented – usually cabbage and Korean radishes. It is served with practically all Korean meals, and most households in Korea maintain a stock of kimchi (often in special Kimchi refrigerators).

Kimchi dates back many centuries, with scholars finding references to it going as far back as the period of the Three Kingdoms (roughly 37 BCE to 7CE). Of course, the art of fermenting foods goes way back into history, and so this is not so surprising.

Today, there are literally hundreds of varieties of kimchi that are made with a wide assortment of ingredients.

For the uninitiated, kimchi can be a tough dish to swallow, especially among those who are averse to spicy foods, as Kimchi is often served spicy (even kimchi labeled as non-spicy at some restaurants can be rather spicy for those with a spice-averse pallet).

As mentioned earlier, kimchi is central to Korean cuisine, and most people probably have kimchi at least a few times a week (if not with every meal). But here in the United States, kimchi is more likely to be found in Korean restaurants and Korean markets or in the specialty isle of general supermarkets. That relative “non-mainstreaminess” of kimchi in the American culinary world made us wonder how many Americans (who of course can be of any race, ethnicity, background, ancestry, etc.) like kimchi.

So we fanned out into the wider world to find out for you, our friends and readers.

Here’s what we found:

Overall, around half of all Americans have actually never tasted kimchi, while among those who have tasted it, half said they liked it, and have said they didn’t like it.

 Male Female
Never Tasted It45% 55%
No 23%26%
Yes 32%19%

Looking at this by respondent age, there is some suggestive variation there – but not enough to really make any sort of conclusion at this time.

Interestingly, looking it by respondent political leanings suggests that those who consider themselves to be liberal are more likely to both have tried kimchi, and to also like kimchi.

Perhaps there’s something to be said there – but we’ll leave that to the reader to ponder. Our job here is now done!

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