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Kimchi fever runs high

Kimchi is an at-home hit. (Bill O'Leary / The Washington Post)

Apparently, I am not the only one obsessed with kimchi.

Over the last two weeks, dozens of readers have written to me with kimchi love-affair stories, tips for how to use kimchi and recipe questions. And lots of people are trying it. Our kimchi recipe was the second-most-viewed recipe in our database in January.

Many readers, such as Rick Swigart, wrote in to share how they discovered kimchi.

In the mid ‘60s I was on my way to Taiwan to study Mandarin and stopped off enroute in Tokyo to visit my college roommate who was studying Japanese at Wasada. We went out to eat at a Korean restaurant near the university.
It was my first exposure and I became quite alarmed when my friend dove into the kimchi, turned bright red, and began sweating profusely. He was making muted whimpering sounds as he wolfed it down. I thought he was crazy and asked if he was in pain and why he was doing this to himself. His response was: “Yes it’s hot alright ... but oh I love it so.” I too, soon descended into kimchi hell.

Others shared how the most interesting ways they'd ever eaten kimchi. Sharon Hudgins pointed out that I hadn't mentioned kimchi-filled chocolate candies, which she had found at the Seoul airport. "I was disappointed that they didn't taste much like kimchi at all," she said.

Tonda, from Alexandria, said she found kimchi-flavored potato chips in China. The Oishi brand chips come in a Pringles-style cannister: "Oh my! Delicious! I only regret that I did not fill a second suitcase full of them for my trip home. My stash is nearly depleted and sadly I have yet to find them here in the States."

Reader Sean Lee wins my vote for the most creative ways to use kimchi. He recommends adding it to hamburgers, burritos -- and making kimchi pizza: "Got a pizza dough from Trader Joe's and just added kimchi into it with cheese and some sausage ... no tomato sauce," he advised.

What to eat in February? Solved.

-- Jane Black

By Jane Black  |  February 5, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Recipes  | Tags: Jane Black  
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