Saturday, August 15, 2015

Missing Kimchi

If you work for Trader Joe's or the company that manufactured their kimchi once upon a time or a supplier that might work with them on a future kimchi product, consider this post my personal plea to you (for whatever that's worth) to please, please, please, please, please figure out a way to bring kimchi back to the stores!

I loved this kimchi from Trader Joe's. It was cheap, only about $2 a package. It was convenient, since the majority of my grocery shopping ends up being done at TJ's (or Costco) so I didn't have to make a separate stop for kimchi. It was a good size for 2 people and you didn't have to worry about storing the remainder of an open package. It lasted for a long time in the fridge (the expiration dates were always months away), so just like the soy chorizo, it was great to keep on hand for a "pantry" meal. On top of all that, the flavor was pretty good. We used it in so much - grilled cheese, mac and cheese, plain out of a bowl. Was it as good as some of the restaurant kimchi we've had? No, but for $2 a package, I really wasn't expecting that.

But there was a problem with the product and TJ's discontinued it. I understand why, since I saw it firsthand. The packaging just didn't really agree with the kimchi. While the majority of the packages we got were fine, we did have one (our very last package!) that blew up so much that we thought it was going to explode all over the fridge. I returned that one to the store (this was after it had already been discontinued, so I had already known about that and the reasons why) and luckily it didn't explode on the bike ride down. The feeling I got from the TJ's staff was that this wasn't uncommon.

I heard a rumor that the kimchi had made a brief reappearance on the store shelves this spring, only to be pulled again because the problem had not been rectified. I don't know if that's true, because we never saw it at the store. I know I could just go to the Korean supermarket and buy some (after all, I did make a special trip for the gochujang, so why not for the kimchi?), but it was just so much easier to do it all together, one-stop shopping. I'd love to see more stuff like this at TJ's generally, so maybe someone could bottle it in a jar or some other type of container that won't blow up and explode. It would be nice to see kimchi at the store again.

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