Metro NZ

Funny business

Kimchi is Korean soul food. Napa cabbage ferments in gochugaru, garlic, ginger, sea salt and fish sauce until delightfully pungent, spending a couple of days out in room temperature to develop its complex flavours. It’ll usually make an appearance on the family table every day, a complementary side dish.

When I ask Min (Kwangmin) Baek, head chef and co-owner of Han, if there is any Korean food he wouldn’t alter, that it may seem blasphemous to do so, he tells me kimchi. “It’s a really beautiful food, because it has texture, acidity, a little bit of heat, it brings other dishes together. As a chef, kimchi is just really, really good.” Ten minutes later, unrelatedly, he says, “I make vegan kimchi, without seafood sauce. We take shiitake mushroom and ferment it for longer. Once I tried that, I haven’t had any other kimchi — the flavours are clearer, refreshing. A balance, like a

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