3 (Fri) February 2012
Kimchi Dogs 3 Ways
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ
Inspired by Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s kimchi dogs, as featured in The Kimchi Chronicles.
Here are my versions. The hotdogs were Hebrew National Beef Franks, the kind used by street vendors in New York City. Although I prefer hotdogs to be boiled, which keeps them plump and juicy, I followed JG’s pan-grilling method, which imparted a nice charred flavor but left them a bit salty. The buns were lightly toasted on a griddle. I did the kimchi in 3 ways: (1) with kimchi, onions, and leeks, all sautéed in sesame oil with a touch of sugar; (2) with the kimchi cooked but the garnishes fresh; and (3) everything uncooked.
My experience working with kimchi as an ingredient strongly suggested to me that the kimchi ought to be cooked in a dish like this, such that the pungent flavors mellow out and harmonize with the meat. While watching The Kimchi Chronicles, I was surprised to see JG dicing it up as is, a move that I dismissed at the time as amateur. But then, I reconsidered; even if JG isn’t a kimchi expert per se, he is an expert on food in general. Thus, just in case, I made one kimchi dog with uncooked kimchi.
While the cooked kimchi in Versions 1 and 2 did feel like a more seamless pairing, the crunch and tang of the uncooked kimchi in Version 3 provided welcome contrasts to the soft and salty hotdog. It also helped that the kimchi itself was excellent, the same stuff used at my buddy’s restaurant The Kimchi Jjigae. Version 3, perhaps not so surprisingly, won the most votes at the table.
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