Monday, March 5, 2007

Spice of Life

I've always thought the mark of a really good Korean restaurant could be measured by the number of lovely little side dishes (aka pan chan) accompanying the meal; it certainly bodes well when you're served upwards of 12 to 15 pan chan, covering all the bases of sweet, savory, umami and more. Well, the ones pictured here were super dee-lish, all of them made with love by the proprietress and her crew at Chuhgajib in Glendale, Arizona.

Of the kimchi, oi kimchi, manul jjong, kong namul and more, ggakdugi's hands down my fave. These spicy pickled nuggets of daikon radish add a tongue-tingling kick and crunch to any meal, whether it's Korean bbq or a bowl of spaghetti. Spaghetti, you say? Sure, why not? I grew up in a household where kimchi went with everything, whether it was mac and cheese, meatloaf or bulgogi on the table. We even stuck kimchi in our sandwiches (ok, not all the time). It's really not so different from the folks who hit all their food with a generous dousing of hot sauce (did I mention my dad does that too?) Spicy, gooooood.

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