Posted April 17th, 2012
This past winter holiday season I found myself being driven to some unknown restaurant in Chicago by a good friend of mine who happens to be Korean. I wasn’t told where we were going, and when we got there he refused to let me order. He wanted me to have a traditional Korean dinner, or at least as close to one as you’re going to get in an older converted Denny’s. He proceeded to order everything in Korean to keep the mystery alive until the food landed on our table…and with a few of the dishes, I’m still not certain what it was I agreed to ingest.
The food ended up being delicious, probably the best meal I had my entire vacation (and that includes Christmas with all the traditional fixins!). Ironically, the course I remember most distinctly was not one of the main entrees, but the kimchi that arrived at the beginning of the meal. It was perfectly fermented and seasoned. In fact, I probably ate more of it than any of the three other entrees we shared.
When my trip ended and I arrived back in Portland, a little part of my mind (and some of my taste buds) seemed to have missed the flight and were still lingering outside that restaurant on Lawrence Ave. in Chicago. I said to myself, let it go Richard. You can always go back and repeat the experience next year; or better yet, I could try to mimic the recipe in my own kitchen. Truth be told, I haven’t taken the time to make kimchi in years and this winter and spring has been no exception.
Thankfully, Choi’s Kimchi Company has come to the rescue! I no longer have to choose between mimicking the recipe or flying back to Chicago because I can’t wait that long. I was the lucky recipient of a sample jar of Choi’s Napa Cabbage Kimchi.
I was taken with this kimchi from the moment I opened the jar. The spices and fermentation were intoxicating before any of the vegetables even entered my mouth. I tried to resist eating the kimchi until I had made a meal to surround it, but I found myself eating pretty much all of it directly from the jar. The Napa cabbage was still wonderfully crisp and with just the right balance of sweetness and heat.
So this story has a happy ending, because while I still have a craving for a particular kimchi, now I can find it in the refrigerated section of my co-op and workplace. Better yet, it’s locally produced right here in Portland!
Though I may be a little addicted to the Napa Cabbage Kimchi, Choi’s makes several other varieties, including: mild and spicy Daikon, and a more mild version of the napa cabbage (for those of you who don’t always want the fire breathe).
While I couldn’t help from eating all the kimchi right out of the jar, if you’d like more information about recipes, the health benefits of kimchi, or just to know more about the company you can find them on the web at www.choiskimchi.com.