Right by my work at the top of Mt Eden Road is the hilariously named “Wang Mart” – a Korean grocery shop selling mostly Korean goods. Within the shop is a counter where a lady makes kim-chi all day and sells a small selection of fresh vegetables. A kilo tub of her kim-chi will set you back a measly $8NZ. I’m no kim-chi expert, but I know a bargain when I see one.
Kim-chi is a fermented food (mostly napa cabbage) and as such is very good for you. I’ll snack on kim-chi on it’s own or as a condiment/side to Asian meals. It is sour, savoury, spicy all at the same time and makes me salivate just thinking about it. Think sauerkraut with a kick.
I don’t know what inspired me to do it, but yesterday I made a grilled cheese sandwich with cheddar and kim-chi. It was phenomenal. Oh the CRUNCH, the SOUR, the SALT, the HEAT.
So good I had it again for breakfast this morning.
Now I’m sure the white bread and cheese probably cancel out the health benefits of the kim-chi but let’s just say we’re back to zero. At least this zero is delicious.
I hopped online to see kim-chi and cheese was “a thing” and it turns out I didn’t invent this combo. Not even close. Grilled Cheese and Kim-Chi sandwich recipes have been published by The NZ Herald (Donna Hay), Serious Eats, The Food Network, The Times, and The Steamy Kitchen just to name a few.
Variations include mozzarella, mayo, bacon, green apple, spring onion and even ramen! I imagine a fried egg would also be a nice touch.
This time, I’m not posting a recipe because I think free-styling is the best option for sandwiches. Besides, I’m sure smart peeps like you could figure it out.
Fun fact: Koreans say “kim-chi” instead of “cheese” when having their picture taken. Now they can say “Kim-Cheese!”
What do you think? Is this sandwich combo weird to you? Would you try it?
Edit: I tried this again with additions of mayo and a fried egg. Epic!