Seriously Satisfying Kimchi Fried Rice at Emong’s Kitchen

Like a catchy song overheard from your neighbor’s speakers, the pickled scent of kimchi passed through my facemask- uninvited but welcome. 2020 forced us all into this new normal. Change is not always bad, if it allows for new talents to “rice” to the occasion. Yes, the pun was intended. You still reading? Good. 

I took a bite and the sour kimchi, sweet and spicy bean paste and starchy rice played melodies across my palate. I was surprised. I knew “Emong” as a very talented musician. I never thought he could also play music in the kitchen

Here’s how I like Emong’s Kimchi Fried Rice: Add a fried egg, garlic bits, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. This dish is a well-made song that can stand on its own or “remixed” with just a few elements. 

Why it Works?

Let’s start first with a few of my biases. I don’t like kimchi. I’m not a fan of Korean food. I don’t like being reminded that kimchi is a food that was invented because of economic hardships in post-war Korea. Given that list of biases, there are many things I’m NOT SUPPOSED to like about this dish. In the next parts, I will try to explain to you and to myself, why I like it.

Did I Just Eat Kimchi?

How much do I like it? The large size is ALMOST A KILO of kimchi fried rice. In just one sitting, I wolfed it down in a mood of confused enjoyment. I’m still trying to understand why.

If your business supports the restaurant industry, you eat good food on an almost daily basis. You develop a palate for good food. Emong’s Kimchi Fried Rice shines because I like it despite my preferences saying otherwise. It’s like listening to a song from a genre you’re unfamiliar with and realizing you like the sound. 

Rice Should Be Rice

I think the strength of his fried rice is that it functions as rice should. It’s a staple food that you can eat with a viand without growing tired of it. Two things can happen when you eat too much of a starch in a meal. If it’s too plain like plain rice, it gets boring. If it’s too rich like an overgenerous aligue fried rice, it gets nauseating.  The beauty of Emong’s fried rice is that it dances between those two extremes.

For me, flavor-wise it was in Goldilocks’ territory. The kimchi provides some acidity and spice which works well to balance a rich and fatty viand. The fermented bean paste provided its sweetness and umami but was used just right. The seasoning was done in a mindful fashion.

Together, Notes Make A Song

A bite is good when you can taste the ingredients working together without one overpowering the rest. The kimchi, rice, bean paste, and oil were arranged like the notes of a song. And these notes, form a good one. 

I Would Have Paid More For It

For its price range, 220 PHP for the large size, I knew I was treated well. I wouldn’t mind being charged more if you ask me. This is from someone who walks away from overpriced food that cheats on flavor by just adding fat. Emong charges kindly for a homey and comforting dish. 

The Verdict

It’s a good idea to treat your family to some comforting Kimchi Fried Rice from Emong’s Kitchen. If you’re like me, given the rainy weather, a mild hint of spice is quite welcome. Remember that it is a rice dish and is probably designed to go better with a viand. I suggest something stir-fried (ginger pork) or grilled (samgyeopsal or liempo). 

As a frustrated musician, I respect talent when I see it. Emong is blessed because he can play riffs from his guitar and from his kitchen. Do yourself a favor and get a tub of this seriously satisfying kimchi fried rice

Panda Prime takes pride in its reviews. In no part was this review paid in any form by the food entrepreneurs I feature. We do this for fun and as an act of love to the food industry. In more ways than one, they have fed us and welcomed me to their kitchens. Peace!