만석 (萬石) Yeah we are fully booked!

Yesterday was a huge milestone for us here at Crazy Korean. We were totally fully booked up! All 8 en-suite rooms of Oceans23 our guesthouse, were filled with 15 international Korean guests coming to work on a ship, in the dry-dock of Durban’s harbour. We also had local South Africans and Chinese guests joining us for dinner, so all 40 chairs and 10 tables were firing up delicious Bul-go-gi Jeon-gol (불고기전골),  Hae-mul Pa-jeon (해물파전) and Dol-sot Bi-bim-bap (돌솥비빔밥).

Our Set Menu 1 is definitely proving the most popular choice with newbies, while Korean guests and those that have tried all the set menus, are going on to taste other delicious offerings.

Please be sure to like our Crazy Korean facebook and instagram pages, so you can follow our unique story.

To book please contact KJ on 079 460 9107 or email us on info@crazykorean.co.za

Take a look at some of the good times so far at Oceans23.

 

Kim-jang(김장)Time!

 

Crazy Korean Lim with KimchiKimjang (김장) or Crazy Korean‘s South African version, the making and sharing large quantities of kimchi (fermented cabbage) ahead of the long winter months to come (though not in Durban!), is an essential part of Korean culture. Despite being centered around kimchi, this practice has never been limited to just food preparation. Kimjang is more of a ceremony, bringing family members together, promoting cooperation among members of society and sharing with the less fortunate. This provides a sense of identity and unity, enhancing ties among different communities. Korea’s kimchi and kimjang, have both received much international recognition in 2013 UNESCO declared them part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage.

Before refrigeration, the kimchi was then buried underground in jars to keep it cool—but not frozen—and then it was shared throughout the community all winter long. Specialized kimchi refrigerators now do the work of underground jars. They’re specially designed to keep different kinds of kimchi at optimal temperatures and humidities without mixing their unique flavors and odors. While many people might only know of cabbage-based kimchi, there are multitudes of other varieties—all made to take advantage of the vegetables available nearby, or in season. That remarkable variety makes the kimchi refrigerator’s job very important, as it needs to hold many kinds of kimchi at once. If you open one up, you’ll find it full of stackable plastic containers designed to seal in freshness. The fridge directly cools the containers, the same way the earth historically kept buried kimchi pots at the right temperature.

Traditional kimchi jars
Kimchi Fridge
Kimchi Fridge

We used google to try and source good information on kimchi and came across Mrs Kims’s Kimchi, a Korean American company: this is what they had to say to some frequently asked questions.

What exactly is kimchi?

Kimchi is a fermented vegetable, commonly napa cabbage or daikon radish.  It is similar to sauerkraut, but uses a flavorful brine/sauce, which is typically a blend of dried chili flakes, ginger, garlic, scallions, salted shrimp and/or anchovy sauce.  There are many variations of kimchi depending on region, season and vegetables used.

Do you bury your kimchi in the ground?  

We don’t have the space to do that in New York City, unfortunately.  And with refrigeration, there’s really no need to bury it in the ground these days, so we can make kimchi year-round!

Why is my kimchi fizzing when I open it?

When kimchi ferments, it releases CO2 gas as a byproduct.  When you open the jar for the first time, the trapped CO2 gas rushes up to the surface, causing the fizzing.  This is a desirable trait of kimchi as it indicates that it is at the height of fermentation and ready to eat!  Click here for Fermentation 101

Why is my kimchi overflowing when I open it?

Because kimchi is a fermented food, there’s a lot going on in the jar.  Kimchi expands as it produces CO2 while fermenting, and some jars have larger pieces of kimchi that can be pushed to the surface as the CO2 rushes out when opened for the first time.  Temperature also affects how vigorously the contents will ferment, so if it’s been sitting out at room temperature for a while, the more likely it will overflow when you open it.  To avoid a potential mess, we suggest chilling the kimchi for at least a few hours before opening it and then doing so over a sink with a bowl underneath to catch any fugitive kimchi!

Why is the jar leaking and/or why is the lid bent out of shape?

See previous question.  We really try to avoid this by filling the jars with enough head space to expand and accommodate the CO2 gas, but all the jars are hand filled and fermentation rates vary, so it’s possible to get a super active jar of kimchi that leaks a little or if the lid’s on too tight, it will get bent out of shape under the pressure.  It is totally safe to eat, but be extra careful opening these jars because they will definitely overflow and fizz.  Do NOT open over a white carpet or in front of your date!

Why does the kimchi not taste as tart as the last time I bought/tried it?

Our kimchi is left to ferment right in the jar, so when you pick it up at the store, it could be at an earlier stage of fermentation.  The longer it ferments, the more tart it becomes.  If you can’t wait a few more days, you can leave the jar out at room temperature for 12-24 hours to speed things up.  Also, you can see how aged the kimchi is by looking at the “best before” date, which is 8 months after the jarring date.  The closer it is to the “best before” date, the more tart it will be.

Can I eat the kimchi after the “best before” date?  If so, for how long after?  

Yes.  In fact, if you prefer very tart kimchi, it will taste even better after 8 months.  If it’s too tart for you, you can cook the kimchi, by adding it to stews or stir-frys.  Kimchi does not spoil easily due to the high acidity (it is similar to pickles), but after about 1 year in your fridge, you will notice that the cabbage might not be as crunchy as it used to be.

How long will the kimchi stay fresh after I’ve already opened it?

For best results, be sure to push all the kimchi below the liquid so that it is not in contact with oxygen (probiotics do not like oxygen).  The kimchi won’t spoil because it has already been acidified, but you will notice a difference in taste and texture in about 2 weeks once the jar has been opened, so be sure to finish the jar before that happens. If not, you can always cook with it!

Is your kimchi pasteurized or flash-heated?

No way.  Our kimchi is naturally fermented right in the jar.  It is a living food.  It is never heated, treated with additives or otherwise tampered with.  We don’t mess with Mother Nature!

Why do some jars look fuller than others on the shelf?

Some jars may have more of the leafy parts of the cabbage than the fleshy part, which are more likely to become compressed as the contents settle.  Also, none of the jars are ever filled to the brim because we need to allow room for the kimchi to expand and produce CO2 gas during fermentation.  Some jars that look fuller may be busy fermenting, but they all settle down after a while, some more than others.

Why does the kimchi have a carbonated taste when I first eat it out of the jar?

Because the kimchi has been producing CO2 while fermenting, you will taste the carbonation or even feel fizziness on your tongue if you eat it immediately out of the jar after opening it for the first time.  We suggest you transfer a serving to a dish and let it aerate for a few minutes to let the carbonation subside so the true flavors can come out (much like a fine wine!).

Is it ok if I eat a whole jar in one sitting?

Kimchi is meant to be savored in small quantities to enhance an existing meal.  We also don’t want you to eat it all in one sitting due to the high sodium content (it provides around 9-11% of your daily allowance of sodium in a 2 tbsp serving based on a 2,000 calorie diet).

What else do I do with kimchi besides eat it as a side dish?

Kimchi is a very versatile ingredient that can be used across all kinds of cuisines!  To retain the benefits of the probiotics, we suggest eating it cold. However, if your kimchi has gotten too tart or old for your taste, it is delicious in stir fries, stews, baked into bread or on top of pizza, used as a braising liquid – the possibilities are endless.  Please visit our ideas section for some inspiration on how to use kimchi.

International Women’s Club Durban – Masterchef Competition

UWC Durban Cooking Club

Hosting 26 lovely ladies from the IWC Durban Cooking Club on Friday 9th March, was super exciting for Crazy Koreans Kwangjeon (KJ) and Chef Lim. On arrival the ladies chatted on the deck of Oceans23 before entering the dining area.

The morning started with a demonstration by Chef Lim on thinly slicing the vegetables and seafood needed for 해물파전 – Hae Mul Pa Jeon (ENG) Click for recipe. Everybody watched carefully, as he expertly flipped the pancake over – knowing that they would have to do the same, when the competition started. Next up was was the careful preparation of vegetables for 불고기전골 – Bul Go Gi JeonGol (ENG) Click for recipe. Presentation is very important in Korean food, so when judging the various teams, Chef Lim would be looking at slicing technique, texture and presentation.

“Your time starts now!” 7 teams of 3-4 ladies enthusiastically began the slicing and dicing, the noise level rose substantially and it was fantastic to hear and see everyone enjoying themselves. The pancake flipping was such fun, getting the timing right was very important – also making sure it was the correct colour was critical too. Team 7 were the winners of 4 infamous bottles of Crazy Korean Kalbi sauce, 축하합니다 – Congratulations!

Then it was time to sit down and enjoy the delicious Korean food the ladies had made. Crazy Korean staff added some bap (밥) – short grain sticky rice , ban-chan (계절별반찬) – seasonal side dishes and those who wanted to, toasted the success of the morning with Korean alcohol Soju and three shouts of Geon-bae (건배) – Cheers! Cheers! Cheers!

If you are interested in booking a cooking demonstration the cost is R250 per person, minimum 12 people. To book please email us on info@crazykorean.co.za 

어서 오십시오! Eo-seo-o-ship-shio! Welcome! Invitation to book for lunch or dinner

Yipeeeeeee, the day has come when Crazy Korean gets to invite all our English speaking friends to join our guests for either lunch or dinner.

We now have a new home at Oceans23, a Durban Korean Guesthouse at 23 The Prominade, GlenAshley – right next to the Indian Ocean, the sand dunes and waves are literally meters from our doorstep.

We invite you to book for either lunch (from 12-2pm) or dinner (5:30-9pm) Monday to Saturday. You will be joining our guesthouse patrons for a unique homestyle dining experience. Bookings need to be made in advance, by calling KJ on 079 460 9107 or emailing info@crazykorean.co.za – we require a minimum of four people and advance notice of set menu choice (see below). Please feel free to BYOB, we charge a corkage of R20 per person, a range of soft drinks are available.

What to expect? Koreans generally eat communally, so often dishes will be placed in the centre of the table and shared.  This is why we need a minimum number of people per booking. As this is a guesthouse, please don’t expect a full waitering service, our staff’s English is limited, this is all part of the authentic experience. The cutlery provided are chopsticks and spoons, a limited number of knives and forks are available on request. On completion of the meal, it is customary for the table not be cleared, once you have finished eating. Just sit back and enjoy the conversation, we will clear up after you have left.

We can’t wait to take your booking and introduce you to a wider range of Korean food now that your tastebuds were excited by our market streetfood.

Photos below are thanks to Tamas Szilagyi and his Derivco Supper club.

Kam-sa-ham-ni-da from the Crazy Korean Team

INTRODUCTION TO KOREAN FOOD

SET MENU 1 – MILD

(min 4 people) R200 per person

  • Hae-mul Pa-jeon (해물파전)

Seafood and spring onion pancake. Vegetarian option available.

  • Dol-sot Bi-bim-bap (돌솥 비빔밥)

A mix of rice, beef and vegetables cooked with garlic and sesame oil, topped with an egg yolk and go-chu-jang (Korean chilli paste) served in a hot sizzling stone bowl, this allows the rice to turn golden and crispy on the bottom. Vegetarian option available.

  • Bul-go-gi Jeon-gol (불고기전골)

Marinated and stir fried beef cooked with glass noodles and vegetables.

These dishes are served with three Ban-chan (계절별 반찬) – seasonal side dishes.


SET MENU 2 – SPICY

(min 4 people) R200 per person

  • Hae-mul Pa-jeon (해물파전)

Seafood and spring onion pancake. Vegetarian option available.

  • Dol-sot Bi-bim-bap (돌솥 비빔밥)

A mix of rice, beef and vegetables cooked with garlic and sesame oil, topped with an egg yolk and go-chu-jang (Korean chilli paste) served in a hot sizzling stone bowl, this allows the rice to turn golden and crispy on the bottom. Vegetarian option available.

  • Jae-yuk Bo-kum (제육볶음)

Spicy stir-fried pork with assorted vegetables

These dishes are served with Sam-chae-so (쌈채소) – side dishes  for wrapping. This is lettuce, chilli, garlic and ssamjang sauce(상추, 고추, 마늘, 쌈장)

These dishes are served with three Ban-chan (계절별 반찬) – seasonal side dishes.


SET MENU 3 – MIXED

(min 4 people) R300 per person

  • Bi-bim Guk-su (비빔국수)

Sweet and sour spicy noodle and veg salad

  • Cho-bap (초밥) and Hae-mul Pa-jeon (해물파전)

Beef sushi (seared at the table), egg sushi (with seaweed wrap) and / or raw fish sushi (dependent on availability), plus a mini seafood and spring onion pancake. Vegetarian option available.

  • Dol-sot Bi-bim-bap (돌솥 비빔밥) and Kim-chi Ban-chan (김치)

A mix of rice, beef and vegetables cooked with garlic and sesame oil, topped with an egg yolk and go-chu-jang (Korean chilli paste) served in a hot sizzling stone bowl, this allows the rice to turn golden and crispy on the bottom. Vegetarian option available.

  • Dak Gang-jeong (닭강정) or Tang-su-yuk (탕수육)

Delicious sticky chicken breast pieces, coated with a unique Korean hot pepper paste – this is a Crazy Korean market special or a Korean-Chinese sweet and sour pork dish.

  • Bul-go-gi Jeon-gol (불고기전골) or So- gal-bi (소갈비) or Tak-gal-bi (갈비)

Marinated and stir fried beef cooked with glass noodles and vegetables

or

Special-cut beef short rib marinated in galbi sauce and grilled until caramelized.

or

Sweetly marinated deboned chicken thigh – this is a Crazy Korean market special

The last 2 gal-bi dishes are eaten by making lettuce parcels to be eaten in one bite. Tear the lettuce leaf in half or so that it is about the size of your palm. Place the leaf in one hand, then using your other hand, put one piece of meat on top of the lettuce. Then layer on some garlic, chilli (if you like it spicy)and ssamjang sauce. Lastly, wrap the leaf into a little ball, and pop it in your mouth.

  • Mixed fruit (과일) 

SET MENU 4 – JAPANESE SASHIMI MEAL

(min 4 people) R300 per person

  • Bi-bim Guk-su (비빔국수)

Sweet and sour spicy noodle and veg salad

  • Cho-bap (초밥)

A selection of raw fish sushi (dependent on availability)

  • Hue-mu-chim (회무침)

Spicy sashimi salad

  • Sae-u ya-chae-mo-dum twegum (새우 야채 모듬 튀김)

Prawn and Vegetable tempura, Crispy battered vegetables or Japanese tempura, with soya sauce. (Depends on availability of vegetables)

  • Mo-dum-Hae (모듬회)

Mixed platter of Sashimi

  • Mae-Un-Tang (매운탕)

Spicy fish stew made with go-chu-jang, go-chu-ka-ru and various vegetables, served with bowl of short grain rice.

  • Mixed fruit (과일)