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What is kim chee?

I think I only started eating real kim chee about 5-6 years ago when I started eating at the sit down Korean restaurants. Before that, I was eating the more watered down local version of kim chee from the supermarket thinking that was the real deal.  So I'm a baby in the world of kim chee and I don't know too much about what it is or how they make it.  I only heard stuff from Korean friends and other peeps. Here's what I heard...if I'm off base, please leave a comment to correct me. Basically it's vegetables such as cabbage, cucumbers, radish, garlic stem, etc. marinated in choke chili pepper, vinegar and other spices then it's fermented in a jar.  I heard from my Korean friend that they put raw oyster inside to help the fermentation process. People say the hard core kim chee is buried in a jar in the backyard for months to let it ferment in the warm ground. When it's ready to eat, the vegetables have soaked in all the flavors and I guess the fermentation process makes the vegetables all tender and juicy.  The flavor is sour, salty and spicy all at once. Some of the hard core kim chee get one carbonated sensation when you put it in your mouth...kinda like kim chee soda pop. It's usually eaten as a side dish with meals or they use it to make kim chee stew. Some kim chee lovers eat just kim chee with mayonnaise on hot rice. For a kim chee info overload, go to Wikipedia-Kimchi.