Today we have Song Song Kimchi Ramen. These fermented cabbage varieties out of South Korea are among my favorites. I really like the tangy as well as bright, spicy flavors. Kimchi is interesting; it’s cabbage as well as many other ingredients that is allowed to ferment for an amount of time.
Personally, I really like this stuff. Here’s a pic from a local Korean grocery store – they make huge amounts of kimchi in store. We saw them doing it one time a few years back and it’s a serious operation. I’ve introduced kimchi to friends and family in the past with mixed results. My son Andy really doesn’t like it – he tried it when he was around 6 or 7 years old and got the most disgusted look on his face. I opened a jar for my friend Matt B. to give it a try and he literally freaked out and almost ran out of our apartment.
I’ve felt that I’ve had a more adventurous palate than most. The more exotic, the better. Food is a language in which we can learn so much about the daily lives of people from around the world – better to embrace it – whatever we are used to.
It’s not a too distant cousin of sauerkraut, but different. It is said to have some important health benefits. Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about kimchi –
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish consisting of pickled vegetables, which is mainly served as a side dish with every meal, but also can be served as a main dish. Kimchi is mainly recognized as a spicy fermented cabbage dish globally, but there are currently more than 200 variations, and continues to grow. These variations of kimchi continues to grow, and the taste can vary depending on the region and season 
Kimchi has been a staple in Korean culture, but historical versions were not a spicy dish. Theories of the origin of Kimchi varies including a belief that it appeared during the Shilla Dynasty, and became prevalent once Buddhism caught on throughout the nation and fostered a vegetarian lifestyle. However, the addition of spicy peppers to this cultural dish did not appear until the arrival of Portuguese missionaries in the 1700s who brought chili peppers. The pickling of vegetables was an ideal method, prior to refrigerators, that helped to preserve the lifespan of foods. In Korea, kimchi was made during the winter by fermenting vegetables, and burying it in the ground in traditional brown ceramic pots, and further allowed a bonding between women within the family.
The origin of kimchi dates back at least to the early period of the Three Kingdoms (37 BCE‒7 CE). Fermented foods were widely available, as the Records of the Three Kingdoms, a Chinese historical text published in 289 AD, mentions that “The Goguryeo people [referring to the Korean people] are skilled in making fermented foods such as wine, soybean paste and salted and fermented fish” in the section named Dongyi in the Book of Wei. Samguk Sagi, a historical record of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, also mentions the pickle jar used to ferment vegetables, which indicates that fermented vegetables were commonly eaten during this time.
Pickled radish slices make a good summer side-dish,
Radish preserved in salt is a winter side-dish from start to end.
The roots in the earth grow plumper everyday,
Harvesting after the frost, a slice cut by a knife tastes like a pear.— Yi Gyubo, Dongguk isanggukjip (translated by Michael J. Pettid, in Korean cuisine: An Illustrated History)
However, early records of kimchi do not mention garlic or chili peppers. Kimchi was not red until the late 16th century, when chili peppers were introduced to Korea by Portuguese traders based in Nagasaki, Japan. The first mention of chili pepper is found in Jibong yuseol, an encyclopedia published in 1614. Sallim gyeongje, a 17‒18th century book on farm management, wrote on kimchi with chili peppers. However, it was not until the 19th century that the use of chili peppers in kimchi was widespread.The recipes from early 19th century closely resemble today’s kimchi.
A 1766 book, Jeungbo sallim gyeongje, reports kimchi varieties made with myriad of ingredients, including chonggak-kimchi (kimchi made with chonggak raddish), oi-sobagi (with cucumber), seokbak-ji (with jogi-jeot), and dongchimi. However, napa cabbage was only introduced to Korea at the end of 19th century, and whole-cabbage kimchi similar to its current form is described in Siuijeonseo, a cookbook published around that time.
Kimchi is a national dish of both North and South Korea. During South Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam War its government requested American help to ensure that South Korean troops, reportedly “desperate” for the food, could obtain it in the field; South Korean president Park Chung-hee told U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson that kimchi was “vitally important to the morale of Korean troops”. It was also sent to space on board Soyuz TMA-12 with South-Korean astronaut Yi So-yeon after a multimillion-dollar research effort to kill the bacteria and lessen the odor without affecting taste.
So this Song Song Kimchi Ramen is a little different – it is a broth-free variety. I did look up ‘Song Song’ and tried to figure out what it means but with no luck. However, I asked Samyang Foods – here’s what they had to say:
Let’s check out this new variety from Samyang Foods – Song Song Kimchi Ramen.
Samyang Foods Kimchi Song Song Ramen – South Korea
Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, add boiling water to fill line and cover 3 minutes. Use marks on lid and poke holes to drain. Add in liquid base sachet contents. Finally, stir and enjoy!
Detail of the lid (click to enlarge).
The noodle block.
Loose vegetables from the cup.
The liquid base sachet.
Finished (click to enlarge). The noodles are pretty good although they seem thinner than their regular ramyun. Could just be me. The flavor screams kimchi and the pieces of kimchi all around are very good. 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 8801073211247.