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Is Kimchi Vegan? (Can Vegans Eat It?)

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Kimchi is a fermented and spicy dish that originates from Korea. It is usually made with cabbage and a variety of other seasonings. But is kimchi vegan? Can vegetarians eat kimchi?

The basic ingredients used in making kimchi, such as scallions, cabbage, and radish are vegetarian-friendly; however, shrimp paste or fish sauce are often added to the mix to enhance its umami and saltiness. This makes kimchi unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Luckily, there are different versions of vegan-friendly kimchi that you can find in the stores, but you can also decide to make your kimchi at home, which is OK.

Is Kimchi Vegan?

Although kimchi is made with vegetables, most kimchi dishes contain seafood as one of the significant ingredients, which automatically makes it unsuitable for vegans.

The two most common seafood used are fish and salted shrimps, but when these cannot be readily available, oysters, anchovies, and sardines can be perfect substitutes.

Another essential ingredient that is used in making kimchi is cane sugar. The cane sugar is suitable for vegans, but when used on kimchi, it is usually filtered with the bone char, which many vegans do not consent to.

Read Also: What Does Kimchi Taste Like?

This fact does not automatically mean that there is no vegan kimchi. You could make your kimchi by yourself or buy it from stores, as there are already made vegan kimchi available.

How Long Does Kimchi Last?

Kimchi is a living probiotic, which means that as time goes on, it ferments due to the lactic acid it contains.

Because of this, certain factors like temperature and oxygen will reduce the lifespan of your kimchi. If kept cool in the refrigerator, your kimchi is most likely to last for 12 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between Kimchi and Vegan Kimchi?

The significant difference between kimchi and vegan kimchi is the presence of fish. Kimchi consists of fermented cabbage, radish, and other vegetables and then fish sauce or fish paste and several different kinds of seafood like shrimps.

Still, since vegans do not consume fish, this becomes a problem for vegans. Vegan kimchi is usually made without fish and seafood. It can be made at home or can be bought from stores.

Is There Meat in Kimchi?

Yes, you can make kimchi with fish or meat alongside other vegetables. That withstanding, kimchi is a healthy and flavourful dish that is consumed by a good number of Koreans daily.

If having a core in your kimchi is your problem, you do not need to worry, you can always replace it with fish, and if you are a vegan, there are other vegan substitutes.

What Korean Dishes Are Vegan?

There are several vegan Korean dishes like the japchae, pajeon, vegan bulgogi, bibimbap, joomuk bap, hobak juk, tofu kangjung, and baechu kimchi. There are a lot of other Korean vegan dishes that I did not mention here, so you could carry out further research and pick your fit.

Is Kimchi Haram?

Kimchi is not considered haram for two primary reasons: there was no mention of it in the Quran or any other hadith as haram, and the alcohol content in kimchi is shallow and, therefore, not able to intoxicate you. Therefore, kimchi is halal.

What Is Kimchi Used For?

Kimchi is usually served with any dish in Korea. Kimchi can also be eaten as breakfast. Apart from this, kimchi can also be eaten as a side dish, an appetizer, and an ingredient. Kimchi is used to make this popular Korean stew kimchi jjigae. Besides all these, kimchi is also used to flavour rice, sandwiches, stir-fries, noodles, and even pizzas.

See Also: Top 45 Most Popular Asian Foods

Can You Be Vegan in Korea?

Yes, surprisingly enough, about 1.5 million of the Korean population are on a plant-based diet. So, if you’re planning on moving to Korea or starting your life as a vegan in Korea, you shouldn’t be bothered about your diets as there are a lot.