Kimchi is part of the international family of pickled vegetables. It is similar to the sauerkraut of Germany, the paocai of China, the tsukemono of Japan, the achar of India, and the pickles of other regions. In all its variations, kimchi provides Koreans with essential vitamins as well as a distinctive flavor, which invariably draws a strong reaction from the first-time taster. Detractors protest that their nostrils and taste buds are overwhelmed by the garlic and hot red pepper. Yet, aficionados find the assault on their senses sheer delight, and they keep coming back for more.
As people seek to lend spice to their meals, kimchi is becoming known worldwide. Servicemen from the West, immigrant workers, and thousands who came for the Seoul Olympics in 1988 got to taste it. As a result, in some countries kimchi now stands on the threshold of acceptance in the realm of fast food beside such multinational fare as hamburgers, tacos, chow mein, sushi, and hot dogs. Some non-Korean airlines serve it with their meals. In supermarkets in Japan, as many as ten million Korean-made kimchi minicups were sold over a three-year period. But how is kimchi prepared?
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