Charleston’s Getting Jigae With It

The State of Kimchi Jigae in Charleston, SC

Kimchi Jigae from Hana Restaurant

In South Korea a baby girl born in 2030 could literally expect to live until she was 90.8 years old. South Koreans will live longer than anyone on the planet at this time according to a study released by the Lancet: click here for full study. What does this mean? It means you should eat more Korean food! Kimchi is the quintessential Korean dish and one of the best ways to enjoy kimchi is as a hot stew called Kimchi-Jigae.

What is a Jigae?

Chef Sean Park of Kanpai plating kimchi jigae

From Wiki: Jigae (jjigae) is a Korean dish similar to a Western stew. There are many varieties; it is typically made with meat, seafood or vegetables in a broth seasoned with gochujang, doenjang, ganjang or saeujeot. Kimchi-jjigae (김치찌개), or kimchi stew, is a jjigae, or stew-like Korean dish, made with kimchi and other ingredients, such as scallions, onions, diced tofu, pork, and seafood. (Pork and seafood are generally not used in the same recipe.) It is one of the most common jjigae in Korea.

Kimchi Jigae from KoCha

From Wiki: Some credit Korea’s industrious energy as a people, and their nation’s rapid economic growth, in part to eating kimchi. Kimchi is made of various vegetables and contains a high concentration of dietary fiber, while being low in calories. One serving also provides over 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and carotene. Most types of kimchi contain onions, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers, all of which are salutary. The vegetables used in kimchi also contribute to its overall nutritional value. Kimchi is rich in vitamin A, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), calcium, and iron, and contains lactic acid bacteria, among those the typical species Lactobacillus kimchii.

Kimchi from Annie and Sean Park at Kanpai in Mt Pleasant

Mama Kim’s version of Kimchi Jigae

This is probably the “healthiest” type of soup in Charleston simply because it is full of probiotics, low calorie, high fiber, etc etc.  Kimchi jigae is eaten once a week by many Koreans for many good reasons, but most of all because it tastes great. It leaves your belly chock full with the voluminous broth and your digestive system loves you for the massive dose of probiotics. It is a dish that leaves many feeling like they just did something great for their gut, body and mind. Visit one of the A Taco Lips Now restaurants below. Are we missing your favorite place to eat Kimchi Jigae? What do you think of the Kimchi Jigae at 843 Kitchen? Do  you prefer to eat it at home? Are you afraid of kimchi?  Reply in the comments below. We would love to hear from  you!


Kimchi Jigae at Kanpai Restaurant

Charleston has more Korean options than most probably realize. The funny and stereotypical irony is that all of them are quite great restaurants for various reasons yet ALL of them whisper in our ear how the others are not as good as they are. Literally every restaurant owner has very politely told me their food was the best and that everyone else is doing a nice job, but it is not as good or authentic. It is a hilariously awesome Korean food feud.  We have spent the past 5 years bouncing between all of them finding great kimchi jigae.  All of them are worth visiting as they are as different as they are the same.

Kanpai (view listing)
1035 Johnnie Dodds Blvd
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
Phone number(843) 388-8001

Perhaps a bit more mustard like snap to the flavor.
Very vibrant and tangy! Energizing broth!!
Off menu. Just ask or call ahead.

KoCha (view listing)
3515 Mary Ader Ave
Charleston, SC 29414
Phone number(843) 766-0301

Very middle of the road spice wise.
Very comforting and more subdued.
Tucked away in a gas station on Glen McConnell.

Mama Kim’s (view listing)
349 King St
Charleston, SC 29401
Phone number(843) 577-7177

Spicy, vibrant and very strong-flavored.
On her Korean menu. On the very bottom and back page.

Hana Restaurant (listing under construction)
8440 Dorchester Rd
Charleston, SC 29420
North Charleston
(843) 760-2342

Crisp, not as overly intense, but very clean tasting.
Relatively new restaurant.