Kimchi for beginners?
OK, I'll out myself: I've never had kimchi! Now I'm excited to take the plunge, but need some help:
1) Is there a good brand/kind to buy to get me started? The only problem is that I can't tolerate really spicy food, so is there a good "starter" kimchi that is not going to set my tongue on fire? I've heard that kimchi comes in all levels of hot, so please steer me to a mild one!
2) Any hints for where to find this in Boston/JP/Rozzie area?
Thanks in advance!
H-Mart in Burlington has a huge variety of kimchi and they are usually pretty friendly about letting you try some before purchasing. The spiciness and ripeness varies so this might be a good place for beginners.
3 Old Concord Rd, Burlington, MA 01803
You can buy non-spicy cabbage kimchi - look for the jars where you don't see any red. I've seen it occasionally at Hong Kong Market in Malden, and WHole Foods (forget if it was Medford or Woburn, tho... you could try the big WF in Dedham).
I won't be helpful with specifics on brands, especially since I don't read Korean, but you will find one very common variety of kimchi (with English label) in all the Chinatown markets. DON'T get that brand unless you have to. I find it to be a bit off in taste - a strange slightly bitter after taste.
I prefer the Korean brands found at local Korean markets. In Boston, you can try John's Market in Allston, which offers its own homemade kimchi (pretty good from what I've tasted). You can find a lot of jarred kimchi at Lotte in Cambridge or at Reliable in Union Sq.
Kimchi comes in different varieties, radishes, napa, etc. My favorite is the radish cubes because of the crunch factor. I haven't noticed anything on the jars that suggest how spicy they are (but again, don't read Korean). I tolerate heat well, but don't find kimchi too spicy. My parents don't eat spicy food, and they find kimchi too much to handle. This may not bode well for you, if you don't care for spicy food.
To really hit the jackpot in kimchi, go to HMart in Burlington - tons of store-made and jarred varieties.