Salty Cabbage Brings Premium Tasty Kimchi With A Modern Twist To Vancouver
Believe it or not, Koreans eat 40 lbs of kimchi, per person every single year.
Not sure about you, but that is A LOT.
Besides it being deeply rooted in Korean tradition, the side dish is adored so much for its various health benefits, low cost, and versatility.
For most people who are not Korean (like us), our encounters with kimchi is primarily at a Korean restaurant or seeing it at the grocery store. And even in those limited experiences, if you pay attention, the hot, sour, and savoury taste of kimchi can be heavenly or extremely bland depending where you dine at. Cause not all kimchi is made the same and it itself is an art, which requires the right recipe and fermentation times.
Kailyn Chun, the founder and owner of a local premium kimchi brand called Salty Cabbage, has mastered that art. And she is making sure that if you have her kimchi, your tastebuds will lean towards the heavenly spectrum.
We spoke with Kailyn to hear how Salty Cabbage got started, what makes them different, and what she would say to those who never tried their items:
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
[Kailyn]: Hi! I’m Kailyn. I am the founder and owner of Salty Cabbage Kimchi. I graduated from UBC decades ago with a degree in psychology. I worked with kids with autism spectrum for many years. I loved my job so much but I am also a person who looks for challenges and adventures all the time, I started looking sideways.
My in-laws were running a busy Korean restaurant on Robson and wanted to expand the business so we took the opportunity. We ended up selling the business but kimchi that I made at the restaurant was so popular, I decided to continue my journey in the food industry and start my own micro business.
Where did the idea of Salty Cabbage come from?
[Kailyn]: I used to buy kimchi from Korean grocery stores but they were never good. It was always over fermented, funky, tasteless, and mushy. The packaging was also very tacky and outdated. I visited farmers markets and other non- Asian groceries and couldn’t find any good kimchi.
It was also really hard to find packaging that would portray Korea as it is now. It is a fun, dynamic, modern and trendy country but Korean products in Canada often have outdated 60’s vibe packaging. I knew how to make good kimchi, where to source local vegetables from and knew we needed vegan kimchi in Vancouver!
So I did it.
I gave it a modern, high-end look and made delicious kimchi.
What’s the deal with kimchi?
[Kailyn]: Fermented foods have become very trendy because of their health benefits. Kimchi is one of the world’s healthiest superfoods among other fermented foods because it has so much probiotics, vitamins, and minerals.
You often encounter articles saying Korea has lowest impact of flu, swine flu or any contagious respiratory viruses such as COVID because we eat so much kimchi. Probiotics in kimchi help with your gut health which also keeps your immune system healthy. Kimchi has lots of garlic, ginger, chili and onions which are known to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol level.
However, what I really want to point out is that kimchi is also very delicious. Don’t eat it because it’s healthy. Eat it because it’s delicious and health benefits are a bonus!
Tell me about your kimchi
[Kailyn]: Real Korean kimchi that you buy from korean grocery stores are imported from Korea or China. They are mass produced in factories with taste enhancers and preservatives.
Salty Cabbage kimchi makes fresh kimchi locally every week. We make them in small batches for maximum quality and use traditional recipe and methods. We also use local vegetables and fruits when they are in season.
Fresh kimchi is crunchy, has a lot of flavour and will ferment in your fridge so that you can taste every stage of fermentation.If you are not a fan of kimchi because the one you tried was too funky, sour and mushy, you will be surprised when you try our kimchi.
Many people think kimchi has to be fully fermented. However in Korea, we eat kimchi on the day we make it and it gets fermented as we go through them. If you want to experience the real Korean kimchi, give us a try 🙂
What are your favourite ways of eating kimchi?
[Kailyn]: When it’s fresh, I like eating it on the side with a meal. It’s crunchy, spicy, sweet, salty and refreshing. We eat it with rice bowls, BBQ, noodle bowls as a side dish.
When it starts to ferment and has that sour taste, you can start cooking with it. Kimchi fried rice, fried noodles are really good, most popular recipe among my customers are grilled cheese sandwich with kimchi. Kimchi goes really well with cheese and tomato sauce, my go to menu with fermented kimchi is pizza, baked pasta and fried rice! It is also really good in taco, burgers and stew.
What is the most memorable moment of your first few months of business?
[Kailyn]: Well, every day is memorable when you first open your business. It’s all very exciting and you feel like you are living your dream haha. However, I was really surprised when Vancouver Sun featured my business. It made my mom really happy because she was so worried about me running a business myself. I was really shocked by how hard it was to get into retail stores and how hard it is to survive as a new start up!
I was also surprised to find out I could lift a 50lbs cabbages box by myself and chop 500lbs cabbages in one day alone haha.
What would you say to someone who has never tried your kimchi before?
[Kailyn]: Like I said above, if you think kimchi is always funky, pungent, mushy and sour, please give us a try. That is NOT real Korean kimchi. That is not what we eat in Korea. The beauty of kimchi is that there are unique taste in each stage of fermentation. Our culture really enjoys every stage of fermentation and pair kimchi with different types of foods depending on how fermented they are.
We also offer vegan-friendly options and specialty kimchi which are hard to find in retail stores.
Don’t eat kimchi because it’s healthy. Eat kimchi because it’s delicious!
If Salty Cabbage’s kimchi sound right up your alley, you can order online or find them at local stores/upcoming farmers market here.