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Store-bought kimchi

I like to make kimchi jigae (stew) at home. I haven't yet made my own kimchi. I've tried the New York (brandname) kimchi at El Grand market, and the house kimchi at the H Mart in Merrifield. And they were okay -- better after aging a little.

I was wondering if others have any personal favorite sources for kimchi in the DC area?

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  1. The Super H in Fairfax's house brand is alright, but I've yet to find a brand I really like. You should really make it yourself. It's not that hard and you can control the heat, garlic, pickeled shrimp, etc. Salt, season, pack in jars, wait. Makes a great hannukah gift!

    3 Replies
    1. re: monkeyrotica

      I like the G mart (which happens to be pretty close to the super H above) at Rt 50 & Gallows. They have kimchi in two places-- some along the back side wall and some near the front. I think the ones near the front are locally made and it's my favorite source.

      1. re: ec2929

        Are you talking abut El Grande/Fresh World? It's not called G mart.

        1. re: Chownut

          I really have liked the El Grande at Yorketown Plaza (Rt 50 and Gallows). I like the produce, and buy the little clams when I do linguine -- very reasonable prices. I've tried their Kimchi, and I agree that it made a better Jigae when it got older.

    2. Actually kimchi chigae is a way to deal with kimchi that has gotten overly ripe but you just don't want to throw it away. Therefore, rather than using good kimchi, the oldest and stinkiest kimchi would probably be the best for the stew. In desperate times, I've even used the kimchi that is sold in Safeway and other local grocery stores which worked decently.

      I use sesame seed oil and sugar (sparingly though) to counterbalance the "ripeness" of the kimchi. Another critical part of the stew IMHO is fatty pork -- bacon, pork loin -- and even Spam work quite well. Good luck!

      2 Replies
      1. re: jkfoodie

        Thanks, JK. Agree on the fatty pork. I buy already-sliced pork belly in quantity at the El Grande and freeze. I've gotten to know the proprietors of Mandu restaurant on 18th Street, and Danny (whose mother runs the kitchen) loves it best with spam.

        By the way, Mrs. Lee is happy to share her recipes with anyone who asks. She told me how she prepares the marinade for their dweegee bulgoki (spicy pork) for 5 pounds of pork!

        1. re: jkfoodie

          Amazing what we learn here sometimes.

          I think the wonderful selection of very fresh produce at ElGrande/Fresh World is a result of the fact that any thing less than fresh quickly becomes their (wonderful) homemade kimchi, Now you tell me that overly ripe kimchi becomes chigae! Nothing goes to waste!!

        2. The H Mart off of Route 50 in Falls Church has sour kimchi specifically for kimchi jjigae (says it right on the package). Ah, immediacy.

          2 Replies
          1. re: link_930

            The Super H kimchi in jars bears a sell-by date. Given the pickled aspect, should this be adhered to? I have an unopened jar, several months past date.

            1. re: bruce in oakton

              nah, no worries mate.... ;-). eat in good health!