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.
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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.
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.