Xinqi? Why kimchi is getting a brand new Chinese language title

Xinqi? Why kimchi is getting a new Chinese name


(CNN) — More than just a spicy staple served in Korean households and restaurants around the world, kimchi — the iconic fermented vegetable dish — has once again become the subject of a cultural feud between China and South Korea.

Among them is a stipulation that xinqi is to be the new, official Chinese name for kimchi. The old common translation, pao cai (salted fermented vegetables), would be retired.

The issue stems from the fact there’s no Chinese character to represent the pronunciation of kimchi. As a result, the Ministry of Agriculture reportedly considered some 4,000 Chinese characters before deciding on xinqi, claiming that it sounded kind of like kimchi.

Xinqi (辛奇) consists of two Chinese characters: Xin means spicy. Qi means unique, or curious.

With the new name, the Seoul government hopes to draw a clear line between Korean kimchi and Chinese pickled vegetables — the latter of which are called pao cai (泡菜) in China.

“With the use of word ‘xinqi’ for Kimchi…