08 Oct2007


I went to school with several Koreans who grew up in Manila in the 1970’s and 1980’s and we have remained friends and occasionally manage to see each other at reunions or when I go on business trips… While an undergraduate in Boston, I also had a Korean/Pinoy roommate, and since we were both on tight budgets, we learned to eat nutritious and tasty food but at minimal expense. I developed a taste for kimchi from all of these friends/experiences and I do look forward to a well-made kimchi every so often. So imagine our delight yesterday when a a good friend arrived from Seoul bearing three types of kimchi she had made herself just days before, and they were absolutely SUPERB. But SUPERB. First, the classic kimchi with napa cabbage, here made with the most humongous whole head of cabbage we have ever seen, then marinated in the mix of chilli and garlic and other spices that results in a slightly fermented, pleasantly spicy, yet utterly delicious side dish. This kimchi was just amazingly good because the cabbage was still very fresh and crisp, even a vibrant green in some parts, yet already redolent with kimchi flavor. I just this evening ate tons of it with paksiw na lechon and it was an inspired match. I would rate this a 10.0/10.0, period.


Our friend also brought a kimchi made with mustard greens (mustasa) that Mrs. MM liked the most of all. The mustasa itself had a distinctive strong flavor in addition to the herbs and spices. Finally, we had radish cubes that are another fiery and classic accompaniment to Korean grilled meats, seafood and other dishes. I don’t get to eat kimchi this good more than say once a year or even less, so we are savoring every morsel and hoping it will keep long enough so that we can finish the generous portions that were sent our way. And when all else fails, and the kimchi is more ripe than you would like, you can boil it up with water and other ingredients to make kimchi chige, a kimchi soup that might frighten many of you but is a delicious way to break into a serious sweat and to infuse your pores with pungent garlic…. yum! Nothing store bought can compare with something skillfully and lovingly made at home. This trio of kimchis were a delight. Thanks, C, for making and bringing this wonderful kimchi to Manila!




  1. linda says:

    MM,try buttering some fresh bread then whack in some of of these kimchi,top with another buttered sliced bread and you got yourself a superb kimchi sandwich! My dh loves it!

    Oct 8, 2007 | 8:40 am


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  3. nayna says:

    omg i LOVE kimchi!! those look fantastic, marketman.
    i used to work as an ESL teacher to korean kids, and i would sometimes get to see their mom making kimchi. aand we’d have them with dinner once in a while

    Oct 8, 2007 | 9:03 am

  4. Blaise says:

    I used to tutor Koreans the English language, and at their homes, they would always have kimchi. I honestly do not like it, but I like kimchi chige..

    Oct 8, 2007 | 9:44 am

  5. palengkera says:

    I absolutely love love love kimchi!

    Oct 8, 2007 | 10:23 am

  6. dee bee says:

    kimchi is definitely an acquired taste. i didn’t used to like it until about last year when i shared an apartment with a Korean family. they taught me how to make kimchi (among other Korean dishes) and shared their food with me. our friendship couldn’t help but blossom amidst all the food we shared :)

    Oct 8, 2007 | 11:00 am

  7. Mila says:

    Love kimchi! Cabbage, radish, carrot/potato, tofu, and even fruit versions (I tried a plum or maybe nectarine version that was the bomb!). I learned how to make it from a Korean dorm mate in China; he was nice enough to bring us to the market and walk us through the steps. Showed us why commercial kimchi isn’t up to par (the amount of salt, the quality of the vegies). But we could never store our milk in the same refrigerator used for kimchi again.

    Oct 8, 2007 | 11:16 am

  8. anonymous paul says:

    i love korean food! especially in the small, independent korean owned restaurants which are sprouting left and right locally. i always look forward to the side dishes like kimchi and the sweet sticky soybeans, spinach etc… etc…. however i prefer the sharper/spicier tasting napa cabbage kimchi as compared to the “cleaner” tasting “water kimchi”. we know korean families who have two refrigerators at home, one specifically used to store kimchi alone. they’re quite serious about it. nothing compares to home-made i guess.

    Oct 8, 2007 | 11:34 am

  9. connie says:

    I like eating kimchi paired with beef bulgogi in Korean restaurants, but I wouldn’t dare buy them from the store. I had the most horrid experience buying those store bought ones.

    Oct 8, 2007 | 11:50 am

  10. joey says:

    Both C and I love Kimchi and can eat loads! :) Lucky you to have 3 batches of fantastic homemade ones :)

    Oct 8, 2007 | 12:11 pm

  11. monique says:

    looks yummy…..

    Oct 8, 2007 | 12:20 pm

  12. Myra P. says:

    Kimchi on buttered bread? Linda, sounds like someone is pregnant or pms-ing :) Almost as bad as peanut butter on pickles. I do love kimchi though, wish someone at the weekend markets would sell fresh kimchi like these. That stall will be a guaranteed hit.

    Oct 8, 2007 | 12:26 pm

  13. Chi says:

    Hey MM!

    I am honored beyond words that my kimchi made it to your website! Wow, amongst all the wonderful food that you make yourself or taste elsewhere, I feel like I’ve “made it.” Glad that you and your Mrs. enjoyed it! How about the Kid? Any tastebuds for kimchi yet?

    Some suggestions for eating kimchi: the radish cubes can be mixed with hot rice, a bit of sesame oil and a pinch of sugar (optional). Yum! As for kimchi chige, just saute napa kimchi in a bit of oil, add water, some dried dilis and boil till it wilts, about an hour. I never tire of this favorite comfort dish!

    Happy eating and thanks for the 10.0!!


    Oct 8, 2007 | 12:34 pm

  14. SimplePleasure says:

    I hate kimchi! yew! Tried so many never liked any of it

    Oct 8, 2007 | 12:40 pm

  15. Cor says:

    You can also wait a lil while for some real fermenting action to take place, then you can make some kimchi fried rice! For that stuff, the older the kimchi, the better.

    Incidentally, do you have any recommendations for authentic Korean restos here?

    Oct 8, 2007 | 4:27 pm

  16. cupcakediva says:

    @Chi: Do you mind sharing your recipe? =)

    Oct 8, 2007 | 5:42 pm

  17. elaine says:

    I loooove kimchi!!!!!!!!! while still in baguio, we’d frequent a small diner cum residence owned and managed by a Korean family. They would even give us stainless steel chopsticks to enjoy their japchae/or chapchae and their oh so hot but so good kimchi!!!!Now, I’m really craving for it!!

    Oct 8, 2007 | 5:49 pm

  18. suzette says:

    i like kimchi as much as i like our atsara…mm, what do you think is the finest korean restaurant here where we could sample a kimchi as close to those?

    Oct 8, 2007 | 8:43 pm

  19. Jacob's Mom says:

    Chi, please, pretty please share your recipe? I can only get the bottled kind in my local stores and have to rely on kind friends to bring me fresh batches from the Korean stores in DC. My family devours kimchi but we prefer it freshly-made. My little boy loves it but once it acquires the more fermented taste, he won’t eat it.

    Oct 8, 2007 | 9:13 pm

  20. Chi says:

    Cupcakediva and Jacob’s mom, I would love to give you my recipe. Unfortunately, I never measure! I could walk you through the steps one by one but how does one give measurements when the pechay is a different size every time, the quantity changes, etc, etc? If you still want a walk through and give it a try (you’ll have to practice a few times to get the hang of it but you may have beginner’s luck and make great kimchi the first time!), I can do that. Where would I post my directions? Here on MM? Gotta ask the boss Mr. MM permission first… I am a kimchi maniac and make 10 varieties in the winter…would love to share with you!

    Oct 8, 2007 | 11:00 pm

  21. frank says:

    hi MM,

    have you had artichoke hearts IN virgin olive oil?
    i shall bring you a jar or two next time i visit manila.

    natakam naman ako sa pictures ng kimchi. we have lots of
    koreans here and i’m reading your kimchi post like i was
    eating it — call it best of both worlds, eh? :)

    Oct 9, 2007 | 12:55 am

  22. Apicio says:

    I can live on Korean food alone. Can’t say that about Japanese food though restaurants here (Toronto) tend to come in combination of the two.

    Oct 9, 2007 | 2:16 am

  23. Naz says:

    MM, kindly allow Chi to post her home made kimchi in you site, please, please! I would love to experiment making kimchi myself. How about bulgogi recipe?

    Oct 9, 2007 | 7:30 am

  24. Marketman says:

    Hi Chi! Yes, please feel free to send me the steps by email at marketman@marketmanila.com and I can post it for readers. Obviously we have a large korean food fan club here… :)

    Oct 9, 2007 | 7:33 am

  25. linda says:

    MM,am looking forward to Chi’s kimchi recipe.

    Oct 9, 2007 | 9:01 am

  26. Ed says:

    How funny that you should mention kimchi now – I just made my own version of ddeok bokki (a spicy pan-fried rice cake “stew”) using leftover cabbage kimchi and plenty of gochujang chile bean paste. It’s a bit unorthodox, but is very tasty!

    Oct 9, 2007 | 9:42 am

  27. belle says:

    uhmm…. no comment. i’m afraid of kimchi. tasted weird. yikes! maybe i had the misfortune of never getting good ones, or is it an acquired taste? i love achara anyhoos. :D

    Oct 9, 2007 | 9:43 am

  28. Guia says:

    Kimchi lovers,
    This is from Evil Jungle Prince, November 23, 2006
    http://www.desertmodernism.com/blog/2006/11/ (can’t make link work so copied it instead}

    He also had a link to a You Tube video on making Kimchi in his June 22, 2007 blog.

    I’m always on the lookout for the perfect cabbage kimchi recipe, and this one’s the best so far. It’s taken from “The Book of KImchi,” published in Korea. I recommend it to anybody seeking out a kimchi recipe that produces restaurant quality kimchi.

    Deconstructed, here’s how kimchi breaks down:
    sea salt, dried chili pepper flakes, sugar, ginger, garlic
    green onion
    julienned radish
    napa cabbage after being soaked in a sea salt brine for at least 6 hours

    1. Start by selecting a good napa cabbage that is heavy and firm. Remove the outer leaves and reserve. Cut the cabbage with knife 1/3 of the way into the base. Use hands to tear the remainder of the cabbage into two pieces. Sprinkle sea salt into the inner leaves.

    2. Create a salt brine by mixing three handfuls of sea salt with water (I used filtered) in a ceramic or glass (not metal) bowl large enough hold the submerged halves. Mix the salt in thoroughly with clean hands. Submerge the two cabbage halves. Place the outer leaves on top. (If necessary, place a plate on top of them and weigh the plate so that the entire cabbage is submerged.) Allow to sit in the brine for at least 6 hours in a cool place. Overnight is convenient. (Never use a metal bowl as it’ll react with the salt.)

    3. Rinse the cabbage halves in cold water and drain thoroughly. Now it’s time to measure out the basic seasoning ingredients. I have struggled with recipes that call for “x” number of grams of this and “x” number of oz. of that. Dispense with this nonsense. Instead use a breakdown of ingredients by percentage. Using the weight of the cabbage as a “100” value, counterpoint seasoning ingredients as such: 20% julienned daikon radish, 3% green onion, 3% watercress, 2-3% chili pepper flakes, 1.5% garlic, 0.7% ginger, 3-5% fish sauce, 2-3% salt. This is the standard breakdown for a basic cabbage kimchi. (In other words, if you have a 100 lb cabbage (haha) you would use 20 lbs of green onions in your seasoning. Make sense? Note that not all the salt is used in the seasoning — most is used in the brine. In the case of a one-cabbage kimchi, you would only used about 1 tsp sea salt in your seasoning. The reason is the fish sauce is already very salty.)

    4. Combine 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, chili pepper flakes (see above), 1 tsp pine nuts, fresh ginger (see above), fresh garlic (see above), anchovy sauce (see above — this is my preference for fish sauce but you can use others), watercress (see above), green onions (see above), julienned daikon radish (see above). Clean hands thoroughout and mix with your fingers.

    5. Now you will need to cut out the hard base of the cabbage halves with a knife. This is done because it will go bad if not cut out. Now pack the reasoning between each leaf of the cabbage halves. With done, wrap one outer leave around the exposed interior portion tightly. Place into a sealed, ceramic cannister. Repeat. With the removed, exterior leaves, use these to cover the cabbage halves. Sprinkle a little sea salt over them and add just a bit of fish sauce as well.

    6. And now for kimchi’s “big secret.” Have you ever noticed that kimchis made at home never, ever taste as yummy and savory as restaurant or store-bought kimchi? The secret is pre-refrigeration fermentation. Before the seasoned cabbages are placed into a refrigerator, they are allowed to ferment for 40 hours before being refrigerated. This “activates” the fermentation which is what makes kimchi special. Place in a cool spot for 40 hours and then place into the refrigerator. You can enjoy your kimchi in just a matter of days, depending how “fresh” or “sour” you like it.

    Additional Tips

    Most people don’t have a Korean store immediately available in their neighborhood, so if you’re interested in making kimchi, I suggest Kgrocer.com. I’ve received nothing but superior service from them and they have everything you’ll need, minus fresh ingredients.

    If you’re shopping for kimchi ingredients in a real store but you don’t know what to look for, print out the following products:

    salted anchovy sauce for kimchi

    I don’t recommend using Thai fish sauce as its very sweet and the taste of the final kimchi will never be “right.” But there are lots of Korean options to anchovy sauce, including croaker and baby shrimps.

    chili flakes

    I really don’t like Wang brand, so try to find a Korean brand instead. The color of the chili flakes should be a bright red. Also, don’t be confused by the packaging. Look for packages of flakes regardless of what the packaging indicates. Chili powder is available in Korean markets but this is used in stews generally.

    Another tip for great kimchi is the use of an air-tight ceramic cannister. These can be purchased at a Korean market but I have yet to see any available online. The plastic top creates an air-tight seal, perfect for the fermentation process and also good for keeping smells at bay.

    Good and luck and happy kimchi-making!
    Evil Jungle Prince, November 23, 2006

    Oct 9, 2007 | 10:14 am

  29. Marketman says:

    Guia, thanks for that! I am sure there are readers out there rushing to buy napa cabbage et al… :)

    Oct 9, 2007 | 5:39 pm

  30. corrine says:

    yes, Chi please post the recipe! Last Sunday, my kitchen angels cooked korean spareribs using MM’s recipe (super yum!) and also cooked chap chae. If only we had kimchi it would have been perfect. We have a big Korean community in our area so I just buy from one of the stores.

    Oct 9, 2007 | 9:05 pm

  31. tabchie says:

    Oh!!! Kimchi is the best…it makes you eat more..hehehe!!! Do you by chance know how to make burong mustasa leaves..i remember when i was small, i use to watch my lola make it…very simple but ang sarap…ka team-up nang sinaing na tulingan..

    Oct 10, 2007 | 2:28 pm

  32. Marketman says:

    tabchie, sorry, I haven’t made burong mustasa so I don’t have a recipe…

    Oct 10, 2007 | 2:36 pm

  33. cupcakediva says:

    @Chi: Thank you. You may also email me at fairy.cupcakes@gmail.com.

    @Frank: I love artichokes in olive oil. Its good with daing na galunggong/bangus, tuyo, danggit or even adobo!! Now I’m hungry..=p

    Oct 11, 2007 | 3:54 pm

  34. BILABENG says:

    thank you i’ve been avoiding kim chee for such a long time, and having been living in hawaii for over 35 years now, I just realized how wonderful and so addicting it is. I have several Korean friends and when they bring food or cook food i could smell that pungent smell and i would just despise the aroma. they would invite me, but always graciously decline till one day i mustered the gut to just dive in and make them feel i’m really their friend. Slowly, I started my journey to this fantastic kim chee trip. I have one friend that could make it so well that i threatened her husband that if he moves he’s going to be alone, cause i wont allow her to leave, cause i won’t get the kim chee i liked. I’ve been trying some recipes, so far i’ve failed miserably. i’ll try this one.

    Oct 13, 2007 | 3:15 am

  35. Chibi Maruko says:

    i just love kimchi!! can’t wait for chi’s recipe!! yipee!! =P

    Oct 13, 2007 | 10:00 am

  36. Ting says:

    I really love kimchi and I’ve made one myself but it wasn’t as good as I only used Chili Garlic Sauce and chili powder. CHI…PLS SHARE YOUR RECIPE. Thanks thanks thanks!

    Sep 3, 2008 | 8:32 am


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