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Mar 7, 2013 06:41 AM

H Mart Store-Made Kimchi

I love the in-house made kimchi at H Mart. However, since they make it and sell it immediately, should I hold it for a few days at home to ferment? How long would you recommend?

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  1. H Mart has homemade kimchi? That's news to me. I've only seen Tobagi brand kimchi there which I usually find has the right balance of sourness and heat. After 2-3 weeks in the fridge, it is usually too sour to eat as banchan and I will use it for cooking.

    9 Replies
    1. re: JungMann

      Many of the H-Marts in Southern CA have in-house kimchi selections, as well as other banchan options.

      A couple of the larger stores have selections that can sometimes be described as overwhelming.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        In my Seattle area store, they have the largest selection on weekends, arranged on a couple of long folding tables, with toothpicks for sampling. I like the young daikon version best.

        1. re: paulj

          Indeed, I am familiar with the toothpicks as it's really the only thing I can't resist eating when offered for tasting in stores. Is the young daikon a version of kimchi or does that refer to the age of fermentation? I don't have much experience as you can tell.

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            I believe paulj is referring to Moo Saengche.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I was thinking more of this:
              (though this recipe is using cubed larger daikon).

            2. re: fldhkybnva

              young as in the size and age of daikon. The produce section sells these by the bunch.

              I haven't seen, in English, clear indications whether various kinds of kimchi, house made or otherwise, are aged or not. I suspect the Korean labels are clearer.

              Most of the variation in these sampling tables has to do with what is being pickled or seasoned, whether it be seaweed, daikon, garlic, peppers, etc.

          2. re: ipsedixit

            Virginia H-Marts have their own in-house kimchi, too. I used to prefer the older, more fermented kimchi, but I guess my tastes have changed. I liken the difference to that between a fresh, half-sour kosher pickle and one that's been left in the brine for a while. They're both good in their own ways.

            1. re: monkeyrotica

              Thanks, the description is helpful as they are similar. I am not a big fan of half-sours so perhaps I'd also love the flavor of the more fermented batch. I'll give it a try and see if 1) I notice any difference at all :) and 2) which I like better or to use in different preparations? Kimchi is such a great food, don't think you can really go wrong

          3. re: JungMann

            They do at my local store in the Baltimore area. Many days there are lovely Korean women with big bowls whipping up ginormous batches of kimchi which they then sell in plastic tubs.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I love the fresh stuff but someone mentioned that it'd probably improve with some fermentation at home instead of eating it right after they make and package it. Perhaps I'll grab 2 tubs this time and hold one.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                I think "improve" is the wrong word here.

                I think "changes" is the more apt description.

                With time, and additional fermentation, the cabbage will certainly be more acidic, pungent and sour, but also less crunchy and crisp. Whether that is better or worse is really a personal preference.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Yea, sorry that's what I intended to say as the fresh version is great. Thanks.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Same as new pickles vs. regular ones. I personally love love love fresh kimchi, I actually prefer it over sour...and it only lasts in the "fresh" state for a few days so it's always a special treat for me.

                    Heaven is a piece of fresh kimchi wrapped around a piece of pork belly.

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      This is why I rarely, if ever, buy pre-packaged kimchi.

                      But some people like "aged" kimchi ... like those with dentures.

              2. 'Hate bottled kimchi - 'Love fresh by H-Mart! It never lasts long enough to spoil. 'Also a big fan of their ice cream novelties.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Mom the Foodie

                  They have something that I have not seen at any other Asian grocery store (Ranch99, Murakai, etc.)

                  Onion cuttlefish balls!

                2. I miss the HMarts in Northern New Jersey.

                  There was always a long table of samples of banchans and other goodies.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jpr54_1

                    I love it! I am on my way now and always come home with more than I planned so we'll see. Did they close all the stores in NJ? My family lives in South Jersey and I've never looked for an H Mart around there but I guess I just assumed they existed.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      No they didn't close the stores-

                      I moved to Hallandale Beach, Florida

                      th is map of location of stores


                  2. Wow, I guess I was lucky and swiped the last in-house tub of kimchi though I assume if I asked perhaps they have more in the back but I was surprised as usually it's piled quite high. Perhaps, Friday or Saturday is the usual day to make it so that was the end of the supply. I also bought a jar of Tobagi as I've never tried it before.