I’m slightly addicted to what I believe is the world’s best burger – this easy kimchi burger recipe. It’s something I concocted myself, but I was inspired by all of the great cooking and food shows on Free Foreign Movies. There are so many great cooking shows illustrating the best foods from different regions of the world. And they all make me hungry. Eating new foods is a great way to learn about other cultures.
My idea for this treat was probably from Arirang Korean TV. You can usually find something about kimchi on one of their shows. I’m not sure why kimchi is not more popular with western audiences. It’s spicy and crunchy and adds a great touch as a side to many dishes. I eat it with almost everything – meat, eggs, rice – breakfast, lunch, dinner. I think more people would like it if they tried it.
There are a lot of varieties of kimchi. I’ve tried probably half a dozen or so. They vary in ingredients, hotness, and preparation techniques. Kimchi is uniquely Korean, but one of my favorite recipes comes from a Thai-Laotian Chinese grandmother! So try several types of kimchi and pick the one that suits your taste.
(I have another idea for a sandwich that is similar to the Kimchi Burger – The Kimchi Bulgogi Sandwich. I’ll describe it below…)
My easy Kimchi Burger Recipe includes the following simple ingredients:
Soft white bread bun
Optional: But this is a great option – Mustard. See my update comments below.
That’s it. It’s got to be one of the simplest sandwiches to make and yet it is one of the best tasting. (In the photo above, I added some bell pepper and avocado.)
This Kimchi Burger Recipe is really easy! I get my cast iron frying pan hot, then I put in my frozen burger patty and cover it. Fresh hamburger would be better, but this is the easy and fast recipe. I fry my burger on one side for five minutes (Alexa set timer for five minutes), then I flip it and fry it for four more. (Frying it a little longer on each side – like 8 minutes – at a lower heat actually tastes better.) Put it on a bun and cover it with a thick layer of crunchy kimchi. I think the napa cabbage kimchi works better here than the radish kimchi. It just stays on the burger better. Add a generous amount of mayonnaise and top it with the bun. It is very simple and super delicious. You can add anything you want to it – avocado, peppers, mushrooms, whatever – but it is so great even without the extras.
I get my kimchi from friends who make their own or sometimes I purchase it from the local international or asian food store. Kimchi from friends is absolutely the best because it comes with a story and a little love, but that is not always available.
This is among the best kimchi – the real deal – homemade and delicious:
The Chinese grandmother recipe from my Thai-Laotian friend comes wrapped in a plastic bag. I guess this is so that if it explodes, it won’t make a mess everywhere. This recipe includes Napa Cabbage, Daikon, Fresh Garlic, Ginger, Sugar, Sea Salt and Korean Chili.
This is also good – available at your local international market. The ingredients for this kimchi include Napa Cabbage, Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Scallion, Red Pepper Powder, Sugar, Anchovy Sauce (anchovy and salt), and Sea Salt. You can find more information on this kimchi at www.kimchipride.com. I called them to tell them about the World’s Best Burger – The Kimchi Burger, but they didn’t answer my call. I left a message, and I will send them the info to include on their recipe page. They must have this recipe! (…Later…) OK, they called back. They thanked me for my interest in kimchi. They said they would think about including my kimchi burger recipe on their page. They said Kimchi Tacos are really popular now in New York. It does sound like a good combination.
Or make your own! My friends and I were planning a session on making kimchi, so I hope we do that soon. Until then, I’m really tempted to try it on my own.
I’ve probably had a few dozen kimchi burgers in the last couple of months. My wife loves them. She thinks I really hit on a simple and delicious recipe. There might be a future in this burger. I asked my kimchi-making friend if kimchi burgers are available in Korea. He told me they are indeed available, so I don’t have an original idea. However, he said they are not very popular. Maybe they need mayonnaise?
Uh, nope. I just did an online search and there are dozens or maybe hundreds of kimchi burger recipes – and virtually all of them use mayonnaise – maybe spicy or mustard mixed or some other combination, but mayonnaise is a critical ingredient. I discovered my Kimchi Burger Recipe by accident, but I feel satisfied knowing that the world’s best burger chefs (and even McDonald’s in Asia) agree with me.
UPDATE: I tried a few Kimchi Burgers with added mustard, and it is outstanding! I could not believe that mustard would improve this burger, but it does. The mustard really makes the flavor pop. I just used plain yellow mustard. Mix the mustard and mayonnaise and spread it on your burger. Add the kimchi of your choice and you will have a fantastic burger. Give it a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Eat more kimchi. It’s good for you, and it’s great on a burger. And stay curious.
The second sandwich that I invented is very similar, but the taste and experience is a bit different. This one is called the Kimchi Bulgogi Sandwich.
The Kimchi Bulgogi Sandwich
The Kimchi Bulgogi Sandwich uses these traditional Korean foods in a complementary way. The ingredients for this sandwich are kimchi, bulgogi, pita bread and mayonnaise.
Grab your jar of kimchi from the refrigerator and set it aside. Grill the bulgogi so that it is tender and melts in your mouth. The pita bread should be warm and soft, so heat it for a few seconds in the microwave on in a skillet on the stove.
Put the melt-in-your-mouth bulgogi on the warm pita bread. Add a nice layer of crunchy kimchi. Top with mayonnaise. Roll it a bit if you want – and enjoy.
A google search shows that there are other kimchi bulgogi sandwich combinations. These suggest using a baguette or ciabatta rolls. Yes, that sounds nice too – like a Vietnamese sandwich. They also add things including cilantro, scallions and pickled vegetables (carrots and radishes). Another recipe suggested an apple-celery slaw. Suggested pairings for this sandwich include chips or kale chips. For a low-carb alternative, skip the bread and wrap the sandwich in a lettuce leaf.
These two new Korean-inspired sandwich options will be among your favorites. Guaranteed.
For more shows featuring international cuisine, visit Free Foreign Films Home. I’ll have to include a page with just international cooking shows. There is so much that is inspirational and delicious! Eat up.
What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean food made with cabbage or radish combined with a variety of ingredients. There’s not one set recipe for kimchi. There are many different recipes depending on your grandmother or your part of Korea or the season when you make it or the ingredients that are available. It can have cabbage, radishes, carrots, cucumber and maybe spring onions? It usually includes vegetables, ginger, chilis, garlic, fish sauce and salt. Because it is an ancient food, the mix is fermented to preserve the vegetables from spoiling. It is a common side dish served at almost every Korean meal.
WHAT IS BULGOGI?
Bulgogi is Korean beef barbeque made from very thin slices of meat marinated in a savory-sweet sauce. The best bulgogi is grilled over an open flame and shared with friends. Eat it with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds. Wrap the bulgogi in a lettuce leaf with rice, kimchi and some sauce or just put it on top of rice.