Difference between Kimchi and Sauerkraut
Kimchi and sauerkraut are both fermented superfoods, highly praised for being delicious and convenient probiotics. Being fermented, they are packed with gut-friendly benefits and have tangy flavors that add complexity to many dishes. They can also be eaten on their own because both taste that great.
While kimchi and sauerkraut share similarities like their preparation and even some ingredients, they are both distinct and unique. So what’s the difference?
Kimchi originated in Korea over 4,000 years ago and is its famous spicy dish that can be found in almost every grocery store. There are variations, but all start with a classic base. Often it is made with fresh Napa cabbage and vegetables, gochugaru (Korean chili powder), spring onions, garlic, fish sauce, and ginger. While undergoing the fermentation period, naturally occurring bacteria and yeast cultures break down the ingredients. As a result, healthy bacteria grow and produce lactic acid, which increases in abundance. This gives kimchi its signature flavor and makes it a great probiotic.
Taste and Look
Spicy and sour, kimchi also has a noticeable umami flavor. The level of spiciness as well as the sweetness and saltiness depend on the amount of spices used. Gochugaru is a strong Korean chili powder that adds a great kick of heat to any dish, but is essential in kimchi. It brightens kimchi with a vibrant red, making it a colorful garnish.
How to Eat
As a garnish or side, kimchi adds exciting flavor to a variety of dishes but is also terrific completely on its own. Kimchi can be eaten with breakfast, lunch or dinner. In addition to applications in traditional recipes, kimchi can transform into fritters or pancakes or used as a garnish to a side of fried eggs. Kimchi can be added to bibimbap, Korea’s classic food bowl, or mixed into stews and sauces.
Low in calories, kimchi is also loaded with probiotics. This good bacteria is essential for a healthy gut, which benefits the immune system. Probiotics like those found in kimchi, help restore the overall balance in the gut.
The name sauerkraut is German, but the Chinese were the first to ferment cabbages in rice wine more than 2000 years ago. Like kimchi, sauerkraut can also be found in nearly every grocery store and with numerous varieties. Sauerkraut consists of fermented shredded cabbage with salt. The color depends on the type of cabbage, but many varieties of cabbage are used to make sauerkraut. The thinly cut cabbages also undergo a fermentation process where naturally occurring bacteria and yeast break down carbs in the cabbage. As a result, sauerkraut is rich packed with probiotics and is also rich in dietary fiber because of the cabbage.
Taste and Look
The name for sauerkraut means sour cabbage in German, which describes the taste perfectly. There are also notes of saltiness and spiciness. Variations of sauerkraut are also made by companies like Hawthorne Valley that include turmeric and jalapeno. Therefore, the color of sauerkraut will depend on the type of cabbage and preparation. Because sauerkraut is primarily made of cabbage and salt, it tastes very different from Kimchi.
How to Eat
Sauerkraut adds a great tang and texture to dishes. It is often eaten with meat-based foods like sausage but is also added to a variety of sandwiches like a classic reuben and veggie sandwiches. Topping fish tacos, potatoes and salads with sauerkraut adds a fresh taste. Like kimchi, it can also be enjoyed by itself.
Probiotic foods are great for digestion. Containing billions of live probiotics, sauerkraut helps restore gut flora and consuming it regularly increases the population of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. This good bacteria helps fight against harmful bacteria and toxins. Sauerkraut is also low in calories like kimchi and high in fiber, which supports weight loss.