In Europe it’s kimchi, but not as we know it

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In Europe it’s kimchi, but not as we know it

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Honest Burgers’ Korean Burger, sold for a limited time this summer, was made with beef, bulgogi (grilled marinated meat) BBQ bacon, kimchi and chili paste burger sauce. [HONEST BURGERS]

The localization of kimchi is in full swing in Europe, with dozens of restaurants there incorporating the Korean signature dish into cocktails and burgers to significant commercial success.

The World Institute of Kimchi recently conducted a survey of 94 restaurants in Europe that offered kimchi-related dishes to identify the different ways that kimchi was being incorporated into local cuisines. The five cities surveyed were London, Berlin, Madrid, Rome and Paris.

The institute found that 18.5 percent of kimchi-related dishes found in the restaurants were non-Korean, localized dishes such as tacos, burgers, sandwiches, croquettes and cocktails.

Out of the five cities, London and Berlin were found to have the highest number of restaurants that serve localized kimchi dishes. The percentage of localized kimchi dishes was above 27 percent of all kimchi dishes.

“The reason that the number of localized kimchi dishes is the highest in Britain and Germany has to do with their growing interest in kimchi’s positive health effects given their meat-based Germanic dietary culture,” read the institute report.

“In the case of France and Italy, there are only a few localized kimchi dishes because national cuisines like the Mediterranean diet have such a strong presence in those countries.”

Britain has shown a great range of localized kimchi dishes, from bloody marys to brunch sets.

In Jinjuu, a modern, Korean fusion restaurant located in the trendy district of Soho in London, Korean-American celebrity chef Judy Joo serves a wide variety of kimchi-inspired dishes like La Kimchi Madame, a brunch dish made of sourdough, kimchi bechamel sauce and fried duck egg, as well as Short Rib Tacos, which are tacos filled with short ribs, avocado, sour cream, coriander and kimchi.

Jinjuu’s drinks menu also includes the Spiced Kimchi Mary, a cocktail concocted with a kimchi spice mix, celery and black pepper-infused soju, chili flakes and fresh tomato juice.

Honest Burgers, a popular British burger franchise, sold a burger inspired by the Korean signature dish for a limited time this summer.

Its Korean Burger, which ended sales July, was made with beef and bulgogi BBQ bacon, and topped with chili paste burger sauce, kimchi and black sesame. The dish graced the list of “10 best burgers in London every foodie needs to try at least once” in the Daily Mirror.

Berliners have also demonstrated their affection for kimchi as a versatile ingredient. Pacifico in Berlin serves the Kimcheezy Burger, flavored with kimchi and chili pepper mayo, while Ban Ban Kitchen offers Kim Chi Fries with a topping choice of chicken, soy veggie or bulgogi beef.

“To achieve the globalization of kimchi, it’s necessary to have a strategic approach when developing kimchi-based recipes that harmonize well with the cuisines of other cultures,” said Ha Jae-ho, chairman of the World Institute of Kimchi.


BY SUNG HWA-SUN AND KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]

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