Kimchi Kooks Adds Some Spice to Brooklyn

December 11, 2021, 2:28.19 pm ET  


On a quiet street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn you might not expect to find a shop dedicated to kimchi, the Korean superfood, similar to sauerkraut that is known for its probiotic properties.

The force behind Kimchi Kooks is Kate Kook and her son, WooJae Chung. Some of the recipes originate with Kook’s grandfather who operated the Kumbong Brewery in Seoul, South Korea from the early 1920s to the 1960s.

Kook put that knowledge to work when she arrived in New York City in 1999. She began experimenting with various kimchi recipes, and came up with her own “White Kimchi” and also trademarked the term “Kimchi’d.”  She has since expanded the menu to include things like Banchan, small side dishes meant to be eaten with rice, and sauces known as Yangnyeom.

On weekdays you will also find Bokkum, sautéed dishes offered with choice of protein and fresh vegetables served “hot” or home-style.  It arrives with a side of rice (a mix of white and wild) helping to create a meal.

The weekend brings specials like Seoul Remedy Soup meant to rejuvenate. It is made with Korean radish, scallion and mushrooms. Another dish, Dweji Galbi, grilled pork ribs marinated with Kate’s Galbi Yangnyeom, is also offered along with Doenjang Jjigae, a stew made with fermented soybean paste, pork, potato, zucchini, onion and tofu. A vegan option made with mushrooms is also available. Bulgogi and bibimbap are also served at times while supplies last.

The refrigerator at Kimchi Kooks is also worth exploring. Aside from assorted house-made Kimchis, including kale and beet, there are things like lotus root pancakes and sautéed tofu sold in small containers.

Kimchi Kooks is located at 119 Bay Ridge Ave, Brooklyn, NY

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