Nani Kore: Kimchi Bliss

Neal Iwamoto
June 15, 2015

You can’t win, Kim Jong-un. Sure, you and your minions prevented us from seeing a major motion picture in the theatre (though we found other means to see “The Interview”). But there’s no way you can stop us from enjoying the utter awesomeness of kimchi, arguably Korea’s greatest export.

Besides tasting good, kimchi has a number of health benefits including lower cholesterol levels and boosting your immunity. 

Nani Kore serves up some killer kimchi at various venues accross the island, including the HMSA Farmers Market. Kyoko Yokouchi and Jeff Kim started Nani Kore last summer, packaging their homemade gourmet kimchi, which uses 20 different ingredients.

Most kimchi, namely those on the store shelves, have six to seven ingredients. So Nani Kore’s  definitely packs more of a punch. Among the ingredients are locally grown won bok, daikon, carrots, onions, chives, and some apple and pineapple for some natural sweetness to boot. They sell both mild and spicy versions.

Their kimchi is so flavorful that the partners thought it would be a good idea to infuse it into dishes. Thank goodness for us. I’ve stopped by their booth at HMSA before and demolished their kimchi fried rice. It’s one of their most popular dishes and not surprisingly it was already sold out by the time I got there (the bacon wrapped mochi was also gone).

Not to panic, there are plenty of other great options. Both the kimchi yakisoba and the tofu kimchi noodle soup looked tempting but I ended up going with the pork belly kimchi sliders with guava sauce and mayo on Hawaiian sweet roll. Nearly all their dishes mix pork belly with kimchi and it’s a great combination. They currently use New Zealand pork belly, which is a higher-quality and less pungent variety. They hope to find a similar quality pork belly with an island vendor soon to keep in line with their philosophy of using local products.

Anyways, once again it didn’t take long for me to finish off the sliders. I love spice and that’s what draws me to kimchi in the first place. But what really complimented it was the sweetness of the guava sauce and Hawaiian sweet roll.

By the way, Nani Kore is Japanese for “what’s this?” with the goal that their food illicit a wow factor. Works for me. 

So if you’re in the mood for some killer kimchi, check out Nani Kore at a farmers markets or pop-up events on Oahu. For their locations, visit their Facebook page or check them out on Twitter and Instagram at @nainkorehawaii. 

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