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"Dear Maangchi, I just found your site, and I am SO excited to try your recipes! I can't wait to make this mak-kimchi. It's been a few years since I have made a quick kimchi, and about 20 years since I've made the properly fermented kind. So I'm very excited to try it - with Julie's soy sauce twist, as I am a vegetarian.
My question is more cultural than it is about cooking per se. I have been a vegetarian for 30+ years, and happily ate kimchi for the first several years of that before learning it often contains fish sauce. (So disappointing!) And then, I found that some also may contain shrimp, or squid, like yours. My question is, is it very common/traditional for kimchi to contain fish sauce and/or seafood? Most of the commercially-made, jarred kimchis available in the USA are vegetarian, but if you go to a Korean or Asian market where they are made in-house (and taste so much better!), they often do have the fish sauce in them. The same with Korean restaurants' kimchi. I know the best way to find out is to just ask them, but sometimes I wonder if I am insulting them by asking, or by not buying/ordering it if it does contain seafood products.
A better way to phrase my question might be, how likely is it that any given AUTHENTIC Korean establishment's kimchi will be non-vegetarian? Should I just assume that it has fish sauce in it by default? Because that's what I'm doing now, and I'm afraid I'm missing out on a lot of great kimchi and, by extension, other Korean food. I would appreciate your thoughts on this ... is the presence of fish sauce or seafood ton the kimchi likely to be a regional thing? You mentioned that you use the squid because your family is from southern Korea.
Thank you! I hope to hear back from you!"
in Easy kimchi — Feb/17