Kimchi is a spicy, pungent Korean staple on a par with America’s bread and butter: It’s served at every meal, is universally familiar, and has millions of variations. At its simplest, kimchi is cabbage fermented with chiles, garlic, and other spices. Bur it can include radishes, scallions, dried shrimp, and almost anything else under the sun. Kimchi is delicious on its own as a tangy appetizer, but what if you want to raise the bar? Get inspired with these awesome kimchi dishes.
Kimchi meatloaf recipe and image from Lady and Pups
1. Kimchi Grilled Cheese
Two Red Bowls blends an American classic with a Korean one. This kimchi grilled cheese combines gooey American cheese with crunchy leaves of drained kimchi. A little spicy, a little creamy, totally delicious.
Photo and recipe from Two Red Bowls
2. Kimchi Fried Rice
Don’t even think of tossing out the leftover steamed rice from your takeout order last night. Instead, follow Humble Feast’s suggestion and stir-fry it with leftover vegetables, cut-up hot dogs, and, of course, kimchi! As a bonus, kimchi is so flavorful that you needn’t worry if you don’t have many Asian seasonings in the pantry—the kimchi does most of the work.
Photo and recipe from Humble Feast
3. Kimchi Dessert Tasting
Because chocolate for dessert is so 2014. Kitchen Musings chronicles a kimchi tasting course held by several chefs. The final course—a dessert tasting comprising a summer hibiscus rice cloud with kimchi purée, puffed wild rice, and wild berries (pictured); a kimchi macaron; a kimchi donut with dulce de leche pastry cream; and a kimchi-dusted truffle—isn’t what you might find in the local pastry shop, but all of the creations got rave reviews. Sweet and savory—it’s what’s for dessert!
Photo from Kitchen Musings
4. Tofu, Kimchi, and Bacon Tacos
Mixing Korean and Mexican food has been a foodie favorite since Roy Choi started a little food truck called Kogi. Well, Viet World Kitchen harkens back to the fusion burritos of her college days for tofu, bacon, and kimchi tacos. Jalapeños meet sesame oil, tortilla meets tofu, and kimchi meets bacon in this delicious hand-held melting pot.
Photo and recipe from Viet World Kitchen
5. Kimchi Pasta
It’s not just about the tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese anymore. No Recipes fuses al dente noodles with spicy gochujang, slivered scallions, and plenty of chopped kimchi. Add some fried pork belly for an extra-hearty dish.
Photo and recipe from No Recipes
The chicken soup of your youth cowers in the face of this soft tofu stew's greatness. The stew can be as complicated or as simple as you wish—as long as it has kimchi, broth, and tofu, where you go from there is up to you! Just don’t forget to add an egg to the boiling broth right before serving, swirling the poached yolk into the broth to enrich it.
Photo and recipe from CHOW
Bacon has been making Brussels sprouts look good for a long time, but now kimchi is here to up the ante. Purée kimchi until it’s a saucy paste, then warm it in a small saucepan. Serve it under roasted sprouts and crispy bacon, letting the garlicky, spicy aroma perfume the dish.
Photo and recipe from CHOW
8. Kimchi Bloody Mary
Kimchi is the next natural depot on the Bloody Mary train route. It’s spicy, it’s salty, and it pairs well with both bright tomato juice and the bite of vodka. Beautiful Booze uses several unconventional ingredients like rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and a roasted seaweed garnish to complete this far-out, Far Eastern–inspired dish.
Photo and recipe from Beautiful Booze
9. Kimchi Latkes
This is my favorite way to eat kimchi: potato pancake style! My Name Is Yeh jazzes up her latkes with a healthy dose of shredded or chopped kimchi. Just drain the kimchi well, add it to your standard potato mixture, and fry away! Don’t forget to add some sesame-chile sour cream for serving.
Photo and recipe from My Name Is Yeh
10. Kimchi Meatloaf Melt Sandwich
Try to wipe up that drool. Lady and Pups makes a porcini- and kimchi-infused meatloaf, glazes it with a spicy sesame oil glaze, and then stuffs it between two buttery, crispy slices of bread. Don’t forget the mozzarella and American cheeses for the “melt” factor.
Photo and recipe from Lady and Pups
11. Kimchi Hot Dogs
Sauerkraut, move aside—it’s kimchi’s time to shine. Happy Jack Eats slathers an all-beef hot dog with mustard, Sriracha, and chopped kimchi. He says that it’s not for first-time kimchi eaters, as the taste is quite strong, but for those who love the stuff, this is an ultimate pleasure.
Photo and recipe from Happy Jack Eats
Sarah Spigelman Richter is a New York City–based writer, blogger, and social media manager. She has developed recipes for Tabasco, blogs about her favorite restaurants and recipes at Fritos and Foie Gras, and can be found, most Friday nights, watching "Arrested Development" reruns.