Special feature on traditional Korean kimchi: Introducing the world of kimchi you don't know


When you travel to Korea, you will notice that there are many different kinds of kimchi. Each region in Korea uses its own unique vegetables, seasonings, and fermentation methods to give kimchi its own unique flavor. In this article, we will introduce seven types of kimchi that represent each region, from kimchi that is famous in Japan to kimchi made with unique ingredients. When you visit various parts of Korea, be sure to try the kimchi that is rich in regional flavor. You will be able to feel the diversity and depth of Korean food culture from each kimchi. Delicious discoveries await you!


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Oisobagi (오이소박이) - Seoul

Oiseobagi (오이소박이), which is also famous in Japan, is a type of kimchi representative of Seoul. This kimchi is made mainly from cucumbers, stuffed with various seasonings and vegetables. The cucumbers are cut vertically and stuffed with chopped radish, carrots, garlic, green onions, chili peppers, and other vegetables. Oiseobagi is characterized by its crisp cucumber texture and its exquisite blend of spicy, sweet, and sour flavors. Traditionally, it is often made in the summer and is valued as a refreshing appetite enhancer during the hot season. Another attractive feature of oisobagi is that it ferments quickly, so it can be eaten immediately after making it. Oiseobagi is known as one of the most popular kimchis in Korean cuisine due to its unique taste and texture.



Cheonggak Kimchi

Cheonggak Kimchi (총각김치) - Gyeonggi Province

Chonggak kimchi (총각김치) is a type of kimchi famous in the Gyeonggi-do region of Korea. This kimchi is characterized by using mainly mini radishes (cheonggum) and the leaves of the radishes being seasoned together. The radishes are salted with or without the leaves, and mixed with seasonings such as spicy chili peppers, garlic, green onions, and ginger. Chonggak kimchi is characterized by the crunchy texture of the radish, but since the radish leaves are also eaten together, it is one of the most nutritious kimchis.


Buchu Kimchi
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Buchu Kimchi (부추김치) - Gyeongsang Province

Bucchu kimchi (부추김치) is a type of kimchi popular in the Gyeongsang region of Korea. This kimchi uses Chinese chives (부추) and takes advantage of their flavorful characteristics. Bucchu kimchi is made by adding seasonings such as garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and fish sauce to Chinese chives. These ingredients are mixed together, tightly wrapped around the Chinese chives, and fermented to create a deep flavor and aroma. Bucchu kimchi is delicious when eaten with meat, but the most famous way to eat it is in soup. Therefore, Bucchu kimchi is a famous kimchi that can be found anywhere in Korea.


Nabak Kimchi

Nabak Kimchi (나박김치) - Chungcheong Province

Nabak Kimchi (나박김치) is a type of traditional Korean kimchi, especially popular in the Chungcheong-do region. This kimchi is made mainly from thinly sliced ​​radish and is a refreshing soup-like kimchi with a lot of water. The characteristics of this kimchi are that it is not spicy, but the sweetness and sourness of the radish stand out. The radish is seasoned with garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and green onions, and fruits such as apples and pears are added to bring out the natural sweetness. Nabak Kimchi is a type of water kimchi (물김치) and is characterized by a refreshing soup. The warm climate of Chungcheong-do is suitable for the fermentation of Nabak Kimchi, which creates a mild flavor. In this region, it is especially popular during the hot summer months and is valued as a refreshing kimchi during the seasons when appetite is low. Nabak Kimchi is also popular in other parts of Korea, and is the perfect kimchi to eat during hot seasons or when you don't have much of an appetite.



Gak Kimchi

Gak Kimchi (갓김치) - Jeolla Province

Gak kimchi (갓김치) is a type of traditional Korean kimchi, especially popular in the Jeolla region. This kimchi is made mainly from gak (mustard greens), which gives it a unique spiciness and aroma. Gak kimchi is made from mustard greens and leaves, mixed with seasonings such as chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. This kimchi is characterized by its mustard-like spiciness, as mustard greens are the main ingredient. In addition, the nutrients contained in mustard greens are said to be good for health, and it is rich in vitamins and minerals. Jeolla-do gak kimchi is a dish that symbolizes the diversity of kimchi and is deeply rooted in the diet of the region. Other dishes that go well with gak kimchi include jjajangmyeon and samgyeopsal.



Dongji Kimchi
The photo shows a flower stalk growing from a Chinese cabbage. / CC BY

Dongji Kimchi (동지김치) - Jeju Island

Jeju's Dongji Kimchi (동지김치) is a traditional kimchi pickled in spring, especially on Jeju Island. This kimchi is made from the flower stalks "동지 (dongji)" that grow from radishes and Chinese cabbage, which are pickled in salt and then mixed with seasonings such as chili powder, garlic, and green onions and fermented. It is especially popular as a temporary kimchi in early spring, when the winter kimchi runs out or starts to become sour. Dongji Kimchi is characterized by the soft texture of the flower stalks and a taste that is an exquisite balance of spiciness and sourness. This kimchi has long been loved by locals as a symbol of Jeju's food culture that signals the arrival of spring. Dongji Kimchi has a traditional taste that makes use of Jeju's rich nature, and is often eaten especially in the spring season. If you visit Jeju Island, be sure to try Dongji Kimchi, which offers a taste unique to this region.


Seogoriji (Seogori-ji) - Gangwon Province

Seogoriji (서거리지) is a unique kimchi that is popular in Gangwon-do. The word sogori ( 서거리) in Seogoriji means fish gills in the Gangwon-do dialect, and this kimchi is mainly made with myeongtae (cod). Seogoriji is a radish kimchi made by drying and storing the gills of myeongtae, soaking them in water when making the kimchi, and mixing them with various seasonings. The unique feature of this kimchi is that when the gills are torn into small pieces and salted, maltose powder is added to promote fermentation. The result is a unique flavor and texture. This kimchi has a traditional taste that makes use of Gangwon-do's cool climate and the bounty of the sea, and is often eaten especially during the cold winter months. If you visit Gangwon-do, be sure to try Seogoriji, which offers a taste unique to this region.


Korean food culture shows its rich flavor and diversity through the different types of kimchi from each region. Each region's kimchi is rooted in the local climate, ingredients, and traditions, and reflects the unique characteristics of the region. These kimchi are more than just dishes; they serve as cultural symbols that express the history, culture, and natural environment of the region. Traveling to different parts of Korea allows you to experience the depth and diversity of Korean food culture through the kimchi unique to each region. Tasting kimchi from each region will be a new discovery for visitors, a valuable opportunity to experience the lives and traditions of the people of the region, and gain a deeper understanding of Korean food culture.