Friday, July 17, 2009

Homemade kimchi is a little harder to find

I stopped by my favorite Korean catering store this afternoon to buy a jar of kimchi and found myself staring at unfamiliar labels of commercial kimchi in place of the homemade stuff I have enjoyed for years.

The cashier couldn't tell me why Poong Yeon Korea on Broad Avenue in Palisades Park stopped making its own kimchi, which is spicy, fermented cabbage, cucumber, radish and other vegetables, the centerpiece of every Korean meal. The store had been one of my two main sources for homemade kimchi, the other being Gaboh Inc., a small factory in Englewood that makes and sells the Arirang brand.

The one-half gallon jar of Goshen kimchi I bought today at Poong Yeon costs $12 v. $10 at Gaboh. Fortunately, the Goshen kimchi isn't made with MSG and Poong Yeon still turns out hundreds of packages of homemade food daily, including japchae or translucent Korean sweet-potato noodles. For my dinner Monday, I'm planning to steam Korean mandoo (beef, shrimp or kimchi dumplings) from my freezer, heat up the japchae and fill a small bowl with kimchi.

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