Usually made with cabbage, this Korean side dish is traditionally pickled in brine and buried underground to ferment for a few days. It is thought to have many health benefits, such as improving gastrointestinal function. Kimchi’s flavor is one of a kind—a spicy, savory taste adding serious punch to many dishes. Here are four local favorites showcasing kimchi’s distinctiveness.
As separate items (served in small Mason jars) or accompanying an entrée, the flavored kimchis at Joule are seasonal and savory. Try the cucumber and shiitake mushroom, the summer radish or our favorite, the pear kimchi—a crazy-good combo of flavors that will light up your taste buds. $3–$5. Wallingford, 1913 N 45th St.; 206.632.1913; joulerestaurant.com
Voted best food cart in America (we voted it best street food in our Best Restaurants issue), Marination knows how to deliver seriously delicious Korean/Hawaiian fusion at criminally low prices. The kalua kimchi quesadilla—made with kalua pork, kimchi and cheese, and garnished with pickled jalapeños, spicy crema and chopped cabbage slaw—reveals both the flexibility and spicy finesse of Marination’s scrumptious locally made kimchi. $5. Locations vary, check website for details; marinationmobile.com
Served piping hot, the zesty and delicious kimchi stew will warm you up on a nippy fall day. Made with shredded kimchi, pork or beef and onions, and served in slurpable spicy red broth, it will leave you happy and satisfied. $7.95. Federal Way, 32703 Pacific Highway S; 253.838.4288
The kimchi in the kim-chee soon doo boo with pork, a Korean twist on egg drop soup, is worth the extra mileage. The zingy, kimchi-laden broth, filled with bits of soft tofu, egg, green onion and spicy shredded pork, will perk up your senses. $7.99. Edmonds, 23830 Highway 99; 425.775.8196
Published November 2010