First Korean Market's Killer Kimchi

For the past several years, I've been obsessed with learning about Korean food. After trying at least 30 restaurants, buying every Korean cookbook on the market, and making a pilgrimage to LA's incredible Koreatown, I still have a lot left to learn, but I do know one thing for sure: the best kimchi you can buy is at First Korean Market (4625 Geary).

The stuff is made fresh in the back of the store, and it couldn't be much simpler: just vegetables, hot pepper, garlic, salt, and salted shrimp. They pretty much always have Napa cabbage (labeled "sliced"), daikon ("radish"), and bachelor radish ("baby radish"), all priced at $4.99 a quart or $7.99 a half gallon. Occasionally they also have other seasonal vegetables, such as cucumbers or spring onions. The store also has a complete selection of Korean groceries and a nice serve-yourself bar of tasty panchan (appetizers / side dishes).

Clockwise from top: cabbage, daikon, bachelor badish.

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