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Learning The Art of Kimchi

While fermented foods may only be gaining attention now in the West, in Asia, fermentation has been a form of art for centuries and an important part of a balanced diet. One of these foods gaining popularity today is kimchi, a national pickled vegetable side dish in Korea. It is a very popular dish in Japan too, and I always wanted to know how to make it. The opportunity came with an invitation from Dotori Kimchi, a new kimchi specialty shop in NJ that is making all kinds of kimchi, including ones that cater to those with more western taste buds.

Kimchi was developed from necessity to preserve, as some part of Korea has harsh climates. It has existed since 900 BC, but the spicy version did not come into existence until the 16th Century. It is extremely high in fiber, Vitamin A, B, and C and healthy living bacteria, also found in yogurt, which can prevent the growth of bad bacteria and aid digestion. To my amazement, there are over 200 different types of kimchi in existence, according to Jose Kye, Vice President and chef of Dotori Kimchi. Today, I was fortunate enough to learn to make the most traditional kimchi of all, the whole napa cabbage kimchi called pogi kimchi.

To make pogi kimchi, the first thing to do was to cut a whole napa cabbage in half by putting a knife in only the lower part of the cabbage, and then separating the rest by hand, which made the process more tactile and fun. Then we used some special Korean salt that had been drying for ages to rub each leaf of the cabbage, (but one can use any good sea salt) separating each leaf. The cabbage then sits for at least 8 hours to soak up the salt. The marinating sauce with minced garlic, salted shrimp, fish sauce, ground chili peppers, etc., is made while the cabbage is soaking. The sauce is then brushed onto each leaf carefully.

Making a batch of kimchi does take work, but one big batch can last you a long time, and just having it around the house is an easy way for your family to get into the routine of adding a healthy, fermented food group to the daily diet. But if you don’t have the time to make it yourself, you can still get the benefits of homemade kimchi from who will deliver it right to your door.

—– Reported by Maya Robinson

Dotori Kimchi
1430 Bergen Blvd., Fort Lee, NJ 07024
TEL: 201-956-9697  |

Jose Kye adds a secret sauce passed down from his family. He keeps traditional family recipes while creating non-spicy kimchi for the American palate.



Ingredients of the marinade, including minced garlic, salted shrimp, fish sauce, ground chili peppers and many others, are all mixed in a giant bowl. The sauce is hand-brushed onto each leaf. One must separate each leaf to do this so that it is rubbed on thoroughly.


The leaves of the napa cabbage are neatly put back together again so it can ferment nicely and evenly. Wait 2 days to let it ferment and it is ready!


Dotori Kimchi creates many kinds of kimchi so that there is something for everyone, from spicy to non-spicy. They can deliver all over the east coast.