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Oct 14, 2009 01:50 PM

Kimchi Specialist?

I'm searching for superlative kimchi (any vegetable) to take as a gift to a friend in the boonies of New Hampshire. I've tried the stuff at most of the big Korean markets in Flushing. While they can be good, they haven't been great. My preference is for the powerful stuff, with the sauce a bit thicker than what I've found in these markets. For instance, the stuff they serve at Arirang on Northern is on the right track. But I'm not sure that they'd sell me a big bag of it.

Is there a kimchi specialist in Queens? I recall driving by a shop on Kissena and 59th Ave called Chun Ju Kimchi. Anyone been there?

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  1. Not an Outer Boroughs response strictly speaking but the kimchi at Gam Mee Ok on W. 32nd St in Manhattan is the best I've had in the area and sounds like it would do the trick. That said, no idea if they'll sell it separately. Definitely worth inquiring if you're flexible as to location.

    3 Replies
    1. re: burton

      Sadly, Gahm Mi Oak doesn't sell its kimchi.

      To the OP: The only restaurant that I know of that sells its kimchi is Kum Gang San. But I think their kimchi sucks. But it doesn't hurt to ask the other restaurants.

      1. re: Miss Needle

        Looking for same as the OP, and no luck so far. Unfortunately, I don't speak Korean at all and I don't have enough Korean friends to guide me. I agree with Miss Needle that KGS could use some improvement. Please shout out loud if you find something worthy.

        @burton: Is it worth showing up at Gahm Mi Ok with an empty jar and an open purse? I am not sure I quite understand what DOESN'T SELL means: am I off-base? (Mostly, I like kimchi on my breakfast rice porridge.)

        1. re: diprey

          Janchi-Janchi is the name of the place that KGS sells out of; lotta goodies there.

          Janchi Janchi
          138-28 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

    2. Joe,
      Tong Sam Gyup Gui, a sam gyup sul specialist in Murray Hill, also makes their own kimchi in house, and, in my opinion, it's excellent. They sell it by the bagfull. It's expensive, but delicious. We usually get our kimchi at the Union Street H-Mart, so we've never brought home the TSGG version. But I've been tempted.

      Tong Sam Gyup Gui
      162-23 Depot Rd, Queens, NY 11358

      1 Reply
      1. re: Polecat

        Ah yes. I've been there and remember seeing signs for the bags of kimchi. Around $20 right? Unfortunately, it was quite a while ago and I don't recall how it tasted. Sounds like a kimchi roundup is in order.....

      2. Some progress:

        Searching for Chun Ju Kimchi (the name on the awning) online yields no results. However, the address shows up as Junju Kimch. Close enough. Chowhound posts from 2001 indicate that this was the former location of a well-regarded Korean restaurant, Bo.

        Walking into the shop, I was immediately confronted by a large walk-in fridge, a makeshift cubicle that the door of the walk-in impinges upon and momentary glimpses of a woman peeling daikon way in the back. Good signs.

        Yep, they had kimchi (w00t!).
        But it was difficult to discern whether most of it was made there, or whether they were a small distributor. I was handed a pamphlet with pictures of the various kimchi available: Cabbage, Indian mustard leaf, yolmu, chives, green onion, stuffed cucumber, radish, turnip, etc. They were already packaged, instead of being in barrels like I'd hoped. I picked a small tub of the mustard leaf ($15 for what amounted to about 4.5 lbs). It's pretty good, but mainly because of the flavor from the mustard. At least it's not a type that I usually spot at the markets.

        The tub says Chun Ju. The pamphlet says Goshen Kimchi/Food Town of Goshen Inc.(as did their truck in the back). It has some websites listed, but oddly, they don't seem to have anything to do with food: and (this one actually doesn't even seem to exist).

        Chun Ju Kimchi / Junju Kimch / Goshen Kimchi
        59-16 Kissena Blvd
        Flushing NY 11355
        Open until about 7pm. Closed Sundays.


        At Arirang, they were excited to sell me their kimchi. One container of cabbage and one of radish. $10 for what amounted to about 4 lbs.


        I wish that I'd come across this thread before heading out today:

        Apparently, there's a great panchan specialist on Leavitt north of Northern.

        137-38 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

        Chun Ju Kimchi
        59-16 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11355

        2 Replies
        1. re: Joe MacBu

          Thanks for your report. Did you notice if they carried bo sam kimchi -- it's a North Korean style where it's wrapped up and layered with different things like pine nuts and veggies.

          Personally, I find Arirang's kimchi too sweet. But the price seems pretty good!

          1. re: Miss Needle

            I had actually wanted to look for that but forgot. Give 'em a call: 718-661-3775

            Yes, Arirang's radish kimchi is a little sweet, but I like it. I find their cabbage version is be more on the salty side. It's homemade, so perhaps there are batch variations.

        2. Mama O's kim chi can be found in some specialty stores in Brooklyn. I have tried it, and I really liked it.

          I gave it to a friend of a Korean friend of mine to try, who may be a bit more discerning than me, and she loved it. They sell it at Stinky on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens.

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