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You love kimchi or hate it. There is no in between. I happen to love it. If you happen to hate, I won’t try to convince you otherwise.

That said, in The City (My The City) there is a market called, interestingly enough, The Market. Good meat selection, seafood, and locally grown veggies. I’m a fan.

Stopped in a bit back and they had kimchi. I struck up a conversation with the owner about it and how I make my own and how it’s a lot of work. He explained to me that one of his regular customers came in and said her husband, who had a terminal illness, served in Korea. And he said he wanted some good kimchi. The owner took it upon himself to track down some one local who could make it. And he did. He started selling it for her. I bought some that day in the event that it was good, so I could stop making my own. It was good. Delicious. I’d buy it all the time.

Today, I swing by to get some kimchi. And they don’t have any. I ask about it and the guy behind the counter (different guy) says that the FDA told them they couldn’t sell it anymore because the supplier was not a licensed manufacturer. Of course not. The supplier of good kimchi was a Korean lady.

Government: Keeping the world safe from good food.

32 Responses to “Kimchi”

  1. jimmyb Says:

    When they come for my bacon, it’s go time.

  2. smijer Says:

    Your first link is broken, sir.

  3. smijer Says:

    And I thought it was some cutesy internet game. I once had a chinese roommate who was constantly pickling cabbage. I enjoyed it very much. I don’t know if it was the same as this, though.

  4. Mike Says:

    You need to buy it at an appropriate ethnic market, if there is one around you. Easier said than done in lots of places, I know.

    Here in Texas, and in California, for any Vietnamese dish you’d want, there seems to be an old lady or family who makes nothing but that dish. At family gatherings these days, where you can imagine a table seating 12 with eight to a dozen different dishes, half the food eaten comes from these old ladies, because it’s too much hassle (read: labor intensive) to cook these dishes yourself.

  5. Sebastian Says:

    What harmful food borne pathogen could survive in Kimchi?

  6. Sebastian Says:

    Relevant Federal Regulations, if you’re interested.

  7. Sebastian Says:

    Interesting. The law that requires the registration of all food facilities is actually the Bioterrorism Act. Here’s a good summary of what you have to do to sell canned food.

    Poor Koreans. They probably came here under the mistaken assumption that this was a free country.

  8. nk Says:

    I like cabbage in all its variations, and especially spicy and vinegary (next to sutteed in butter with onions, tomato sauce and rice), but I’m the only one in the house who will eat it, so I’ve given up.

  9. Wanda Says:

    There is a Korean grocery store down the street from me that sells kimchi soup (or kimchi casserole – I’ve heard it called both things). It’s unbelievably delicious, especially in the winter when it’s cold outside. It has big chunks of fatty pork in it, along with a lot of garlic, onions, chili, etc.

  10. SayUncle Says:

    i have not had kimchi soup in years. Making me hungry.

  11. anon Says:

    Kimchi good. Aftermath bad. (but worth it!)

  12. Reese Says:

    A Korean friend of mine told me that kimchi, and the recipes to make it, are to Koreans as chocolate chip cookies and their recipes are to Americans. Every family has one that has been handed down from generation to generation, and every one says their family’s is the “best.” Also, that the simplest way to unintentionally offend a Korean Grandmother is to not like her kimchi.

  13. BobG Says:

    Good spicy kimchi is one of my favorite foods; one of my favorite ways of eating it is to mix it into plain white rice, making sure to get plenty of the juice into it.

  14. Robert Says:

    I knew what was coming before I even got to the part at the bottom. The Government could fuck up a wet dream.

  15. Wanda Says:

    Just wait until you get a Korean taco truck. Y’all will go nuts!

  16. stencil Says:

    1. Load or make your own. It’s cheap and easy.

    2. Vote for no incumbent.

    3. Rinse, repeat.

  17. Billll Says:

    1. Start with spicy kimchee.
    2. slice and dice up thin.
    3. Substitute for sauerkraut on a bratwurst.

    A marriage made in heaven.

  18. Rob K Says:

    I don’t hate kimchi, but I haven’t had any that has made me hate it.

    I think government regulations are pushed by big business to stifle competition.

  19. Rignerd Says:

    Korean lady buys cabbage, spices and other ingredients. Through her labor and art she increases the value of the ingredients. When she sells it she is in essence creating a dollar or two out of thin air. Nobody is allowed to create dollars except the overlords in Washington. She is a dangerous subversive and must be stopped.

    I do second the comment above about what could live in Kimche. It wouldn’t surprise me if it cured cancer and swine flu at the same time. Any thing that could live through it is not of this world and therefore harmless to the life forms here.

  20. Rachel Says:

    There’s an actual Korean store in Knoxville; you should have no problem finding kimchi there, as far as I know.

  21. HeavenlySword Says:

    Kimchi isn’t that hot… My little sister’s korean friends make this stuff, and its a bit better, but isn’t amazingly hot

    It is incredibly tasty though.

  22. thirdpower Says:

    Illinois has a law that’s about to go into effect raising taxes on alcohol and any food w/ sugar or sweeteners. Gotta love revenue generation during a recession.

  23. Rustmeister Says:

    Love me some Kimchi. Spent a year in Korea (on a ROK airbase), there are more variations on the recipe than hairs on your head.

    I especially like cucumber kimchi, but they make it with radishes and sprouts as well.

  24. nk Says:

    Could you bypass the fermenting period by using sauerkraut instead of fresh cabbage? Rinse it off well and then season it with Korean rice vinegar and peppers to taste?

  25. ThomasD Says:

    “There are more variations on the recipe than hairs on your head.”

    Yup, their are even extended multi-day kimchi tours available in Korea. Very popular with the Japanese.

    Yes, nk, not all kimchi is fermented.

    Heck, chow chow is just Appalachian kimchi.

  26. Robert Says:

    I lived in Seoul for a year and, as Rustmeister said, there are many recipes for kimchi. A word of warning to the uninitiated … most native varieties will set your hair afire – it’s that hot.

    In the 1960’s, dog meat featured prominently on most cafe menus; spiced and quite tasty, ala London Broil.

  27. Don Meaker Says:

    Yes, food regulations were put in at the request of large companies who could not compete with the local butcher. The local Butcher would kill animals that day, and worked hard to sell all parts to his clients that same day. The next day there would be available at a lower price what he couldn’t sell the first day.

    No way a bigger company could match that level of service and freshness. So they required inspection. That slowed the local butchers down, cutting freshness. They then required each butcher to hire, at his own expense, a government inspector. Only the large companies could afford that.

  28. Roberta X Says:

    …Fermented kimchi does, indeed, contain a (benign) bacteria. The Korean space agency (or possibly their Moms) had to come up with a sterilized version for their guy on ISS. I love the real stuff when I can find a good version. Sadly, a lot of what’s available around here is right up there with canned “Mexican” food: better avoided.

    In re meat, the bigger commercial operations were plain ol’ nasty back in The Day, which led to inspection and regulation that the small — and usually worlds cleaner — local butcher could not afford to comply with. Just another thing to thank the socialists for, Upton Sinclair in this case; take consolation that he was hugely miffed when his screed against capitalist exploitation was taken by the reading public as a food-safety expose instead. (Wik up “The Jungle.”)

  29. Patrick Says:

    While I cannot stand kimchi, I would die for your right to eat it. Ok. Maybe not. Even so, this is absolutely BS. Who ever asked the government to make the world safe for us.

  30. John Hardin Says:

    Patrick Says:
    > Who ever asked the government to make the world safe for us.

    Oh, lots of people who think that the gubmint is Mommy and Daddy.

  31. Standard Mischief Says:

    I’m lucky that there are plenty of international grocery stores around here that are owned by Koreans. Plenty of handmade goodies that I presume are legal because they are made in-store. “Kimchi row” around here has about 15 display case-feet of the different kinds available. Maybe 20 different styles in pint to gallon size jars.

    It’s a good thing too, because even though I love to cook, I can’t make anything that ferments with yeast or bacteria for some reason. I’ve failed repeatedly at kimchi, half-sours, yogurt, bread or sauerkraut. I’m afraid to try beer, as that would likely turn out as alcohol abuse.

    My favourite fermented kimchi is the “young radish” kind, and my favourite non-fermented (which I can make myself) is cucumber kimchi (oisobagi)

  32. Milton F Says:

    One would think that, as an American, they could construct a contract that would allow family producers of Kimchi to sell it, or trade, or barter, with no legal repercussions from those that would rule us from washington city.

    Good article Unc!

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