House-Made Kimchi from Rhea's Deli Perfect for DIY Korean
|Made by the Korean grandmother you wish you had.|
So the moment I walked into Rhea's Deli (800 Valencia at 19th St.) to pick up a bulgogi sub (research for today's food review), I noticed the pint and quart Bell jars of kimchi lined up in the refrigerated case below the sandwich counter. "Those homemade?" I asked owner James Choi. Yes, he said; his mother makes them.
Pint jars of the red cabbage kimchi cost $6.99 ― a little steep compared to other Korean markets around town, but Choi gives you $2 back if you return the jar. It's a potently garlicky pickle, acutely tart, obviously fresh, perfect for eating on burgers, nachos, brats, potato chips, and possibly ― though this is pure speculation ― corn dogs.
Choi's mother also makes a chile-less white radish kimchi ($11.99/quart), which I haven't tried. And on my last trip to the market, I noticed a type of kimchi I hadn't seen outside Korea before: A sherbet-pink "water kimchi," radish slices floating in a light, delicately tart brine that's often served in bowls with a meal for sipping. A jar of that may soon end up in the refrigerator, too.