Say My Namu

Kimchi for the days when you can't eat at the Mission restaurant

Dennis Lee and his brothers have never shied away from taking Namu into territory few restaurants broach. A farmers' market stand. An organic farm. For a spell, a CSA box.

Now: grocery stores.

In early November, Namu started selling jarred versions of its cabbage kimchi ($10 for 16 ounces) at Bi-Rite and the 4505 Meats shop, the first stage in their plan to produce jarred seasonings and marinades.

The cabbage isn't grown on their plot in Sunol–that'd take a few extra acres–but it is made in the restaurant's kitchens according to the Lees' mother's recipe. The Namu cooks massage cabbage that has been salted with a paste of garlic, ginger, spices, and salted shrimp and fish sauce for depth of flavor; then they let it ferment for four weeks.

As jarred kimchis go, it's good stuff: potent in all the right ways, with a heat level well pitched to the cabbage's sharp tang.

Leave the kimchi in the fridge for a week, tightly sealed, and the jar will hiss when you untwist the lid; a bit of carbonation even lingers in the leaves. (It's aliiiiiiiive.)

Dennis suggests you add the Namu kimchi to soup for a jolt of acidity, or simply heap it onto burgers and hot dogs. "Those are all easy and awesome things to do," he says.

We agree.