We are delighted to feature Kimchi and Radish in the Explorer Box this June. We shipped their original Kimchi which is Vegan (no fish sauce). Founder Jihyun Kim, or Kimmy, personally delivered her delicious kimchi and kindly answered our questions (later over email, ssshhh!).
Here’s Kimmy answering our most pressing questions:
What’s the story that got you into fermenting food?
I was born in Seoul, South Korea. I grew up with fermented food and it is normal to eat fermented food every day. It’s likely safe to say that the vast majority of Koreans are eating fermented food, probably kimchi, in at least one meal of the day!
16 years ago I moved to the UK and I found it very hard to find kimchi and even fermented foods like sauerkraut from non-speciality shops. At that time I felt kimchi was largely unknown outside of Korean restaurants and except for New Malden, very few asian supermarkets had any either. With my background as a chef, it was just the obvious thing to make it myself and so I did, following my mother’s style and recipes.
After marrying and having children, I’d find myself making kimchi not just myself and my family, but for my friends and their families too. The amount I was making kept on increasing so I started looking in to how to make larger batches. The turning point was when one of my friends said I should be charging them more than just cost, as it was so good! It grew from there.
What is your personal favourite fermented food?
Hahaha – you’re asking a Korean this?? Of course I’m going to say kimchi! Having said that, my personal favourite is kimchi at least 2 months old – I really love the tangy sourness; the gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), ginger and garlic combination that increases in complexity with age; and the texture – soft yet still crunchy. My other favourite is fermented chili paste, Gochujang which is made with fermented soybean and gochugaru – I add it to almost everything from salads, to other sauces and even just it mixed with rice. Where my children love ketchup, I love this 🙂
What fermentation experiment have you got going on at the moment?
We are looking into bottling our Rainbow Kimchi and Beetroot kimchi fermented juice – it’s a very small scale at the moment and we’re experimenting to get consistent results in viable quantities. What we’ve done so far is very refreshing as a chilled drink (as a shot) and also works as a tangy probiotic salad dressing!