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The Best Dish in the World

Sometimes you try something for the first time, whether it’s a new experience, learning a new skill, or eating new foods, and you think: This is awesome, how did I ever exist without this thing in my life? This can happen when meeting people, too, but in this instance I am referring to food.

Being a Korean Drama fan, I’ve been into kimchi for awhile.  Kimchi is a spicy fermented cabbage and radish dish that is a staple of Korea. It’s sort of like sauerkraut, but more flavorful and very spicy.

Anyway, the other day I realized that I’d never tried kimchi fried rice, which isn’t actually that hard to make. I had almost reached the bottom of a kimchi jar that was soon to expire and decided to go ahead and try to make it to use the rest of the kimchi up.

What can I say about kimchi fried rice?  It is like mac and cheese or pancakes. Kimchi fried rice is a dish you make when you want to be reminded of home. It’s a dish you’d share with family and close friends. It’s a communal dish around which people would talk, tell stories, shoot the breeze, and just be together. This dish makes the room a place where all secrets can be shared, all fears laid bare, and all wishes known, after which everyone is duly punished with good-ribbed joking. With kimchi fried rice, one can laugh until their stomach hurts, cry until their aren’t any tears left, and eat until you get sick–but that’s not recommended because leftovers can always be saved for breakfast.

Do I exaggerate? Can a cooked fermented dish really be so healing?  Kimchi friend rice is going to be a staple in my life. I’m determined and don’t know how I lived without it before. Keep in mind, I didn’t even follow the recipe properly: I didn’t add the red pepper paste (I can only handle so much spice), I added shredded carrots, I sadly had no bacon, and I’m pretty sure the fried egg on top was overcooked.  Oh, and I mixed in plain yogurt at the end like I do with most spicy food. Nonetheless, eating it felt like coming home and those nights when you and your family or friend pull out the board games and the beer and talk and eat and drink until dawn.

Here is a link to the recipe I used. It’s a great video and the cook is easy on the eyes, which is something all cooks should aspire to be.  I aspire to being an easy-on-the-eyes cook myself, though, I usually don’t have an audience while cooking. The key is finding the right apron, I think,  and mine’s rather plain, so I’ll have to work on that.