According to recent studies, vegan kimchi has the same probiotic effects as its traditional counterpart. In terms of nutritional value and probiotic effects, plant-based kimchi is in no way inferior to traditional kimchi.
In Korean cuisine, kimchi refers to both the preparation of vegetables by lactic acid fermentation and vegetables prepared in this way. Along with fermented cabbage, radishes and other vegetables, fish sauce, fish paste and other seafood are also used in the traditional production of kimchi. Following the rise of the vegan trend, an attempt was made to completely eliminate animal ingredients. Miso, a fermented soybean paste, was used instead.
In the laboratory, scientists took samples from the vegan kimchi and examined them to determine what bacteria they contained. These bacteria were then compared with high-throughput DNA sequencing. The test results showed that initially very different types of bacteria were present. In the course of fermentation, however, the situation changed and the kimchi variants could hardly be distinguished.
“Miso initially has a high number of living bacteria,” says Belenky – assistant professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at Brown University. “The fact that the microbiological structure changes at the beginning of the fermentation process was surprising. We thought that the different microbiological properties were going to be carried over to the vegan kimchi, but this was not the case. The kimchis were almost identical by the end.”