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Feb 15, 2012 05:02 AM

Kimchi in SF

This is probably a long shot, but does anyone know of a place to buy kimchi in the city, if at all possible in the Mission or the Civic Center area? I know there's First Korean Market in the Inner Richmond, and I've shopped for Korean groceries at Kukje in Daly City, but I'm going to be carless and busy today and find myself having a serious kimchi craving. And by craving I mean I'd ideally like a jar of it (not some side plate of it at a restaurant), so that I can eat a heaping pile of pieces of kimchi all by itself, without any silly distractions like rice or soup or, you know, other food getting in the way. Yum.

Actually, while I'm on this question, does anyone know of a place in the Bay Area in general where you can get jars of the kind of kimchi that has a few oysters in it? (I haven't seen it, but I've only shopped so far at Kukje.) Love that stuff. Double yum.

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  1. Not in the Mission or Civic Center, but Woo Ri Food Market on Fillmore and Geary has great kimchee. They also have great kimbap. It's a small market, but they make their own kimchee. Delicious

    Woo Ri Food Market
    1528 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA

    1. Previous thread. RL and several others like First Korean Market.
      First Korean Market
      4625 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA

      1. Ooh, there's the slightest chance I might be able to make it to Woo Ri today. Thanks, srr. And thanks, wolfe. I'd seen that thread but somehow had missed the (geographical) mention of Woo Ri.

        Starting to have visions of burying my own kimchi, so I can have more of it around for times like this.

        2 Replies
        1. re: carbonara

          If you are into fresh kimchis with oysters, you may want to check out Kunjip Restaurant down at Santa Clara - they've got some killer fresh kimchi w/ oysters. I've heard many raves about it from Koreans of all ages. Personally I'm not that into kimchi + oyster combo so I don't fiend on it but I can tell it's good.

          This may be off topic but -

          Have you tried "Poong San" brand, imported from Korea? Not sure if the Korean markets in SF are even carries them, they are seldom available in the South Bay or usually in LA K-Town area. It's about $18/jar up here and around $16 or so in the So Cal. I do bring them over in car trunk whenever I visit the area - and yes, they worth the 5-Hour Stink

          It doesn't have much of that oyster filling you like but taste rather tangy fresh and have some kicks to it. It's more like "Seoul-styled" kimchee, where they don't pour much of the fish sauce as they do in other regions. So far this is my favorite and like you said, I can eat it with no rice or other side dishes to spoil the flavor.

          I sound like an PR guy for the brand - it's that good.

          1. re: min417

            I haven't been to Kunjip, so thanks for the tip! I don't know Poong San, though, since I grew up in LA with Korean parents, there's a good chance I've tried it without knowing it. I'll ask my parents to bring me some Poong San the next time they drive up, along with some of the kimchi my grandmother makes. Just thinking of the varieties of kimchi available in my parents' refrigerator kind of makes me want to cry right now, from desire.

        2. Most SF supermarkets carry King brand in mild or spicy. The company address is in SF, too.

          10 Replies
          1. re: TenderNob

            Really? Which ones? I generally only frequent Trader Joe's and Rainbow (and, very occasionally, Costco and Whole Foods), and I haven't noticed kimchi in the aisles; that said, I haven't been looking when in those stores.

            (On second thought, I've seen kimchi in Costco of I don't know what brand, though, from having lifted the giant jar and stared at it, it looked unappetizingly un-spicy. The thread wolfe linked to had someone saying Costco kimchi was tasty, but that he/she added srichi (not sure what that is--maybe sriracha?) to make it spicier. I'm not usually a purist about cuisines, but the thought of adding sriracha to kimchi turns my stomach a little.)

            1. re: carbonara

              Rainbow has several brands of kimchi - I haven't noticed the brand names. They are in the long refrigerated aisle across from the yogurt.

              1. re: farmersdaughter

                I think Rainbow has only hippie kimchi since they don't carry non-vegetarian food. Unless maybe they've started carrying Bowl'd kimch.

              2. re: carbonara

                Remind me not to invite you and Eugene Park to a chowdown together.
                " These aren't little measly egg rolls measuring a few inches long; these are close to double the length of the typical Chinese egg rolls you get at Chinese-American places. They're served with a good sweet & sour sauce, which I punch up with Sriracha. Heaven" ;-)

                1. re: wolfe

                  Oh, no, that sounds delicious. This morning, while in the grip of my kimchi craving, I had eggs and Sriracha for breakfast. I often find Sriracha tasty, but there's something about the thought of adding Sriracha to kimchi that sounds off to me--Sriracha is so sweet, and kimchi's generally not, and I feel as though the sticky sweetness of Sriracha would interfere too much with the clean taste of kimchi.

                  Okay, just ran an experiment and added a touch of Sriracha to a piece of kimchi. Yep, not for me. De gustibus, etc.

                2. re: carbonara

                  Yes, most SF Safeways have a jar of kim chee. I'd be very surprised if it weren't at Whole Foods in Noe or the Safeway at Church and Market.

                  Duc Loi would be my first stop though. Casa Thai on 16th near Mission probably has some too.

                  Duc Loi Supermarket
                  2200 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

                  1. re: carbonara

                    Last I bought was from the now gone Cala, but I think I remember seeing it at Safeway, probably Northpoint.

                    1. re: TenderNob

                      Just back from 16th & Bryant Safeway. King's kimchi is in the cold cases of the produce area.

                    2. re: carbonara

                      Check back at Trader Joe's refrigerated section. Resealable bags of imported from Korea Kimchi, not too hot, reasonably crisp 10oz for $1.99.

                  2. Rhea's Deli in the Mission sells homemade kimchi in jars that you can return for a discount on your next jar. The guy's mom makes it.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mariacarmen

                      That's a great tip. What other surprises -- in addition to the good sandwiches -- are on offer at Rhea's?

                      1. re: david kaplan

                        that's about it, i think.... but that's enough, isn't it?