Heating Up: Kimchi and Sambal

Crazy for Kimchi

Kimchi, a traditional side dish made of spicy, fermented and pickled cabbage, is a staple in Korean cuisine. It’s expanding from traditional Asian dishes to menu items such as salads and burgers that appeal to demand for adventurous yet familiar tastes. According to Datassential, kimchi is currently found on 5% of U.S. menus and has grown on menus by 92% over the past four years, presenting a great opportunity to differentiate your menu with this trending ingredient.

  • Kimchi Smoke Barbecue, located in Westwood, NJ, features kimchi across the menu in intriguing items like its Chonut 2.1 with smoked kimchi, smoked brisket, bourbon chipotle sauce, cheese, bacon, and scallions on a glazed donut.
  • Chicago restaurant Little Goat offers a Reuben sandwich with smoked corned beef, kimchi, kraut, Havarti, and special sauce on pretzel rye.
  • The Peached Tortilla in Austin, TX, serves kimchi throughout the menu including in an Asian Pear Miso Salad, a pork belly bowl, and a Kimchi & Arancini (another trending item) Balls plate with wasabi, sriracha aioli, and roasted nori.

Spice it Up with Sambal

As chefs are more frequently combining diverse mixtures of ethnic flavors into one-of-a-kind dishes, some ingredients are standing out more than others. Sambal, a Southeast Asian spicy chili pepper sauce, is incredibly versatile, lending itself to a range of applications such as glazes, vinaigrettes, and pasta sauces.

  • Dale Talde, Chef and Partner at Talde in Brooklyn, NY, says, “What I appreciate most about sambal is its complexity of flavor—it’s not just one-dimensional spicy, or hot-just-to-be-hot, but offers a whole orchestra of aromatics that play across your tongue. The sambal used in my Smoked Shrimp Chile Sambal accentuates the natural sweetness of the shrimp, and also adds a nice bite with a smoky finish.”
  • Selamat Pagi in Brooklyn, NY, serves a Sambal Deviled Egg starter, and offers flavored sambal with menu items such as grilled chicken, Brussels sprouts, beef short ribs, and sautéed greens
  • Captain Lawrence Brewing Company located in Elmsford, NY, serves up sambal mayo along with its fried chicken, steamed bao buns, and “hanoi” style fries.