Kimchi, thank God, is not “homogeneous” food. It sure goes well with almost any Korean dish there is. But it does add an addictive spicy kick to Filipino foods as well. Off the top of my head, these are the Filipino foods that taste good on their own, and great when paired with Korean kimchi:
Pochero– This is something like beef stew. The beef is simmered in tomato sauce so the tomato taste really seeps in. It is cooked alongside veggies like cabbage, potatoes, white beans and string beans. Pochero also has one kind of fruit in it–bananas! Eaten with rice, this dish is a very complete meal already. But add kimchi and you not only up pochero’s nutritional ante but it’s taste, as well. Without kimchi, pochero is beefy and tomato-ey. With kimchi, pochero is beefy, tomato-ey AND deliciously spicy!
Pork barbecue – We Filipinos usually marinade our pork in soy sauce, Sprite and calamansi, among otherthings, so there’s that tangy taste to our favorite skewered meat. Kimchi add’s another dimension to this dish by adding (what else?) SPICE! Not to mention you get some veggies to go with your meat… 😉
Lechon – Slow-cooked in fire for hours until tender and tasty, lechon is Filipinos’ favorite fiesta (festival) fare. The skin is crispy, the meat is yummy, and the liver sauce tops off an already to-die-for (both literally and figuratively) dish. For spice lovers who need something healthy to go along the lovely lechon, there’s (yet again) kimchi. Just a little piece of leaf to go with your spoonful of rice and lechon goes a long way in giving your meal that much-desired kick.
Adobo – If you haven’t noticed yet, I like adding kimchi to my meats, and adding kimchi to adobo, a meat dish simmered in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, basil leaves and black peppers, is another case of this. I like my adobo garlicky, so it’s the dominant taste in my adobo when I cook (which is rarely, hehe!). I pair it with kimchi, though, when I want to have another type of taste to it, which is (you guessed it) spicy!
Fish soup – I’ve seen Koreans add kimchi to soups in travel shows on TV so I figured there’s no harm in trying it with my own fish soup. And I’m happy to report that, yes, our fish soup tastes great with kimchi. =)
And here’s why I like pairing my native dishes with kimchi: Because Filipino foods tend to be fatty and oily (think lechon and bagnet—yummy but deadly, hehe!), kimchi seems to balance this out with its health benefits.
According to this website, kimchi “is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, but its biggest benefit may be in its “healthy bacteria” called lactobacilli, found in fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt. This good bacteria helps with digestion, plus it seems to help stop and even prevent yeast infections, according to a recent study. And more good news: Some studies show fermented cabbage has compounds that may prevent the growth of cancer.”
At Bon Chon (which is not a Filipino restaurant, but hey, I like it anyway!), they have kimchi coleslaw which I’m soooo craving for right now……
How about you? What foods do you enjoy pairing with Korean kimchi? =)
Kimchi photo by…Me. =)
Pochero photo from http://www.gensantos.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/pochero.jpg
Pork barbecue photo from http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lb7aa2iJZd1qcmlv4o1_500.jpg