Did Someone Say Dried Kimchi?

That’s right. Dried. Kimchi. I did a double take when I was perusing the aisles of Trader Joe’s. Professional curiosity got the better of me, and the package ended up in my basket. I left it on the table for a couple of days before opening it up.

I opened the package and peered inside. It looks just like what you would expect dried kimchi to look like. I wondered why they would make a product like this. The package suggests using it as a condiment, putting it in your ramen. Why would you do that when you can put in real, plump juicy kimchi?

I poured it out and the entire contents of the $3.99 package fit into a small bowl. It smelled vaugely like kimchi, but didn’t have that delicious pungent odor you would expect from opening a package.

But how does it taste? Would it be too obviously to say that it tastes like freeze dried kimchi? They did to kimchi what they did to ice cream to make it useful for astronauts. They sucked all the liquid out of it and made it a dry and crispy husk of its former self. The first thing that struck me was how salty it was.

I turned over the package and gasped for two reasons. 1) This tiny package supposedly had a serving size of 4. Obviously, not designed for Koreans. And, 2) the sodium content was astronomical — 2,400 mg per serving! Now, I understood why the serving size was 1/4 teaspoon. 2,400 mg is the US recommended daily allowance of sodium per person. I don’t think they could, in good conscience, offer a product that had a per serving content of more than the US RDA of salt. Although they call it a “delicious and healthful snack.” I would not call it delicious. I would not call it healthful. And I would definitely not call it a snack.

I wondered what quality of kimchi they used to dry in the first place. The next time my mom comes over with her baechu kimchi, I may have to get out the food dehydrator and find out what happens. In the meantime, I may have to figure out a delicious use for dried kimchi. Got any ideas?

12 thoughts on “Did Someone Say Dried Kimchi?

  1. In all fairness, it only has 210 mg of sodium for a 1/4 bag. So if you ate the whole bag, it’d be a third of your RDA, but it still sounds pretty gross.

  2. I saw this at Trader Joe’s and thought “ew gross!” and put it back on the shelf. Thank you for taking one for the team and testing it out. 🙂

  3. Maybe you could pulverize it and shake it ever so sparingly on popcorn?

    Trader Joe has a lot of Korean products right now: dried Jeju orange slices, marinated bulgogi, refrigerated kimchi (with shiitakes?!) and insanely sticky fresh rice noodles. I was intrigued by the dried stuff, but my frugal inner old lady wouldn’t let me buy it. Thanks to your cookbooks and Maangchi.com, even this Texan can make an impressive Korean spread from scratch.

  4. I must admit I’ve done some strange things with this dried kimchi. My favorites are sprinkling it on cottage cheese for a salty fix, and eating it on top of scrambled eggs with spam. The bag is awfully empty though…you are right about that!

  5. Well, I have seen some negative comments about the product but I just want to point out that for a student that has to take their lunch in a back pack, where less weight is preferred and non perishable a necessity, this dried kimchi was a surprising blessing. My son loved adding it to his ramen, which he made in one of the schools available microwaves. He often spent 12+hr days on campus and never had access to refrigeration so standard food would spoil or just be a mess and too cumbersome to haul around all day.

  6. I’m drying beef jeeky right now and just made a batch of radish kimchi. I had an idea of drying my cabbage kimchi and googled it. So Trader Joes version sound scary. I still want to try deying a small amount (at a low temperature for a long time rather than a high temp for a short time) and see how it goes. I can sort of envision eating a dried cabbage chip and what t tastes like, so I’ll have a go. I wanted to make it to take to parties as an appetuzer. Will try tomorrow 🙂

  7. Thinking about doing this for hiking trips. I love kimchi and eat it often although I think I will dehydrate my own homemade kimchi. Sometimes while camping and hiking I tend to lose my sense of taste so I would really enjoy some spice to increase my appetite.

    • Good idea! I also like taking miso soup packets, spicy ramen and things like that on backpacking trips. Light to carry, has flavor and can be made easily with a little propane stove.

  8. I love Trader Joe’s dried kimchi. I am in the process of looking up how to dehydrate kimchi. It’s a great snack — when you don’t have kimchi made up OR you need to take it on the run. I make kimchi, but this is nice too. To each his own.

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