There's something luxurious about the banchan, or side dishes, that come with Korean meals. Before dinner has even begun, the table is already full of food -- ten different little dishes -- and everyone gets their own fried fish. Of course, the most recognizable dish is the kimchee.
If you thought there was only one type of kimchee (guilty), a trip to Super H Mart will prove you wrong. In the refrigerated section alone there are more than a half dozen types besides the cabbage kimchee you typically eat: leek, cucumber and turnip green among them. The jars range in size from 32 ounces all the way up to 128 ounces.
Then there's the kimchee made in-house. At her own large station, a woman packs it into two-pound bags; the open containers give off powerful chili and garlic fumes. Other banchan is also available, including bean sprouts and fried whiting fish cakes.
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If you're having trouble deciding, consider the dongchimi kimchee, which is vinegary rather than spicy. Despite being called the winter kimchi, its sweet and sour coolness is perfect for summer picnics.