Drooling over Korean staple kimchi

The kimchi that Surianie sells.

By Nur Hazirah Shukur

KUCHING: Kimchi is a traditional side dish of salted and fermented vegetables and a staple in Korean cuisine.

Locals often see people enjoying kimchi in Korean movies and dramas, drooling and dreaming of tasting it for themselves.

This was how Eonnie Kimchi founder Nur Surianie Ahmad Zaidi, 27, started out her kimchi business — due to her deep interest in Korean movies and dramas.

“I learned to make kimchi because I was drooling every time I see Korean stars sipping kimchi-based soup, eating kimchi with rice and so on.

“In the past, it was difficult to get kimchi because the price was high,” she told Suara Sarawak recently.

Due to this, she was determined to learn the recipe. “I decided to quit my job in 2019 and started making my kimchi by learning from Google and YouTube.”

Eonnie Kimchi founder Nur Surianie Ahmad Zaidi

“In the beginning, I only gave the kimchi to my family and close friends, but after tasting it, they started wanting more, and now it’s popular,” she added.

Seeing the demand, she started to upskill herself in making kimchi — even contacting a friend studying in Korea to learn how to make kimchi from the community there.

“Besides that, to increase my confidence and gain the trust of customers, I also participated in online classes to learn Korean food recipes, including kimchi production.

“With the skills and recipes, my kimchi business can survive until now and is gaining popularity even during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

She said that kimchi is made using vegetables soaked with salt then rinsed and marinated with fish sauce, garlic, scallions, red chilli pieces such as Korean gochugaru chilli powder, red apples, carrots and more.

According to the mother of two, in Korea, kimchi is often used in cooking ingredients for fried rice and various other dishes.

“Eonnie Kimchi fans also come from various walks of life. I also have clients from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.

“In terms of marketing, I use social media such as Facebook and Instagram to promote sales, and unexpectedly I was also contacted by customers from outside Sarawak.

“Kimchi is a fermented food, the longer it is fermented, the tastier it is. So, there is no problem for me to send it by post outside the area, including outside Sarawak.”

Surianie said as much as 18kg could be sold within a week and some customers pre-ordered.

“There is no denying that in every business there are challenges in terms of competition. What is important is that we take care of the quality and make sure the food sells well.

“Because of that, I value the wet ingredients used so that this kimchi has its speciality.”

Surianie said to prepare kimchi would take two days and after that, the process of sending kimchi to customers.

“I offer delivery services around Kuching, pick up at my house or via postal service throughout Malaysia.

“This kimchi is also delivered in fresh condition because there are customers who like to enjoy it that way. Some like it when it is completely fermented.”

The kimchi is in different sizes, namely RM12 (300g), RM17 (500g) and 1kg (RM34).

“I also accept orders for more than 1kg if anyone is interested. I hope that this business will grow because this is my source of income as a housewife.”

Surianie can be reached via Facebook (Sue Aediey), Instagram (eonniekimchi_), email (eonniekimchi@gmail.com) or at 011-63240894.KCH-kimchi-1807-nsh(T)