Houston is a mosaic of cultures, and its cuisine reflects that. With that in mind (and in honor of Meatless Monday), each week we’ll explore a new globally-inspired vegetarian or vegan dish, and take a look at where to find its ingredients in Houston; Discover other Meatless Mondays here.
This week, we’re traveling to Korea with kimchi.
A staple of Korean cuisine, kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish consisting mainly of napa cabbage, daikon radishes, brine and seasonings like garlic, ginger, scallion and gochugaru (red chile pepper powder), which gives its signature red tint. Think of it like a pungent sauerkraut, but way better. It is traditionally served as a banchan, or small plate, alongside cooked rice.
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The best place to shop for it pre-made is Super H Mart, 1302 Blalock, a Korean grocery store on Blalock that is like the Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory of Korean food. In addition to a bevy of Asian ingredients, it has one of the finest selections of the fermented banchan in town, with varieties ranging from homemade bags to pre-packaged jars, in large and small sizes. Though it's a vegetable dish, kimchi is often made with brined seafood and oyster, shrimp or fish sauce; so if you're looking for a true vegetarian/vegan recipe, you’ll have to make your own.
No worries. Super H Mart also boasts all of the ingredients for that, too—like that aforementioned gochugaru, plus ingredients like dashima, or dried kelp, and sweet rice powder.
While you’re feeling inspired, stock up on rice and noodles, gochujang (a dark red pepper paste) and traditional Korean snacks; check out the stellar food court for Korean pancakes and stir-fried glass noodles; then finish with some fresh baked goods, which feature flavors like red beans, pumpkin and curry.
Make your own vegan kimchi using this recipe, then throw it into anything from fried rice and ramen to quesadilla and tacos.