A Jar of Kimchi Ferments in Brooklyn

by Liz on March 31, 2011

in Food

Jina’s Kimchi, video by from Elizabeth on Vimeo.

I can’t believe I’m writing this. I really can’t.

But after watching Jina Kim of My Brooklyn Kitchen kick up a cooking storm in her Park Slope apartment, the first thing I wanted to do was run to the nearest grocery to pick up a nice, succulent head of Napa cabbage. I would then cradle this baby under my arm and carry it home to coo it to sleep in a salt water bath.

Then again, I didn’t need to, because Jina, a total sweetheart, already had a jar of kimchi on standby.

“I already have some people in mind,” she told me, “and this jar is for you.”

For someone who’s Korean — and lived in Korea for a good five years — Jina’s hospitality and personal touch had echoes of the warm and the familiar. On one hand she’s a down-to-earth Brooklyn-based cook, but also a true blue 2nd generation Korean American, who believes without a carrot shred of doubt in the power of Korean food. “For me” she said, “the food is a way of connecting, a visceral way of being Korean.”

As she swiftly chopped jalapeños, kale, and whatever else she could get her hands on, her made-for-video instructions were peppered with humorous anecdotes about her memorable Korean mother. “My mom used to make kimchi in big, 30-gallon trash cans,” she recalled with a grin, “and half of her body would be inside the trash can while she was standing on a stool.” Did she ever fall in? I didn’t dare to ask. What mattered was that her mother’s award-winning performance was now the source of Jina’s inspiration and the fresh, green heat-infused kimchi with a 2nd generation twist.

Jina has featured her kimchi in various events around New York. I first met her at KAFFNY 2011, where she was serving slivers of her refreshing kimchi on tacos, but she’s been making waves even before that, with a cameo appearance at Lucky Rice, an annual food festival, among other achievements. But her next stop might just be Whole Foods, thanks to an evolving partnership between Jina’s Kimchi and Rick’s Picks, that lovable purveyor of gourmet pickles like Phat Beets, Smokra, and Windy City Wasabeans.

So get ready to set your tongues on fire, America. Any day now, Korean flavors will be officially invading your grocery shelves.

(In the meantime, check out the instructional video with Jina giving step-by-step instructions on kimchi-making. Impressively enough, she did it all under 30 minutes (not counting, of course, the brining of the cabbage in salt water). The best part? She made it all look so simple. No wonder I can’t wait to try this at home.)



Some artists work together, others work alone. Yet, another group ignite and spark each other’s creativity. They say to each other, “I’m not you, and you’re not me. But we can still be there for each other, I know we can.”

Kiya Kim and Chong Gon Byun are Brooklyn-based Korean artists with two distinct approaches to art, and on Open Studio day at the Invisible Dog Gallery I met them both, alongside their very different bodies of work. Yet, seeing the fruits of their labor side by side, I could see how influence had criss-crossed on the studio floor.

Chong Gon Byun is a conceptual artist who sculpts with various objets (once used, often discarded) and brings them back to life. He also paints.


Kiya Kim is an artist who approaches fashion and femininity with a tour de force of neon duct tape, candy-colored graffitti, and riffs of cover girl references.

Their style and focus, while vastly different, prove Brooklyn’s art scene is not be missed! More here.