5 Signs To Spot A Spoiled Batch Of Korean Kimchi

Kimchi is the national dish of South Korea. People call it their soul food. However, a recent incident in South Korea has left everyone shocked as more than 1000 people have fallen sick after consuming kimchi contaminated with norovirus. On July 5, 2024, officials in Namwon City confirmed 996 confirmed cases.

This kimchi was distributed through school meals, and most patients are now grappling with symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting, and pain in the abdominal. Reportedly, norovirus is a contagious disease that can spread via contaminated surfaces or affected persons. Officials are continuously monitoring the situation and trying to get the situation under control.

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While this isolated incident has left people afraid, one cannot deny the growing popularity of kimchi and other Korean foods in India. Visit any Korean restaurant and you will serve every meal with kimchi. With rising cases of food safety across India, you need to identify a good batch of kimchi from the spoiled one. Here are five signs to look for.

Taste Test

Before gulping down the entire kimchi, taste it a bit. The fermented dish is a blend of spicy, sour, and savoury flavours, but none of them are overpowering. However, if the taste seems too sour or slightly bitter, it is better to throw off the batch. The dish has already passed its expiry date, and consuming it will increase the risk of falling sick. If you are at a restaurant, request a fresh serving of kimchi.

Unusual Texture

Since kimchi is made with napa cabbage, the leaves portion is soft and slightly gooey but the stem remains hard and crispy. When you bite a piece of kimchi, the crunchy sound will tell you that it is a fresh batch. However, if the fermented dish is soggy, has an unusual consistency, or is slimy, it is time to discard the old batch and open a new one. The overly soft texture of ingredients in kimchi is a bad omen for your health.

Change In Colour

Kimchi boasts vibrant orange-red hues of vegetables and spices. Its colour will make you want to gulp it down one piece at a time. If you start noticing grey patches or dull colours in a batch, the food is spoiled and you should not be eating it. Discoloration or white hue is also a sign that you should look thoroughly for if you are sceptical about serving or eating kimchi. 

Odour In Kimchi

Kimchi has a tangy and spicy aroma, slightly pungent because it has fermented over a couple of days. You can easily identify the smell with just a whiff. However, if you experience an overly pungent odour (if it smells rotten), you must immediately dispose of the batch without giving it a second thought. Even if you are not an expert on smelling food and guessing its expiration, it is quite evident in a batch of kimchi. 

See For Mould Growth

Since kimchi is prepared by fermentation, when the batch gets old, it is likely to develop moulds. They look like green and black fuzzy spots on the surface and around the brim of the container. The growth is an indication that the batch is spoiled beyond saving. Scraping it off and thinking that you have saved the batch is of no use. You should throw it away and prepare a fresh batch.