The Film: Le Grand Chef 2: Kimchi Battle – South Korea
Two siblings, who have grown to be two very different adults, compete in a nationwide kimchi contest. But food is just the entry into their personal stories which makes this sentimental film a good watch.
For the first ten minutes I thought I was in for a frothy cooking comedy along the lines of Simply Irresistible which would have been fine, I was in the mood for that. But then it became something else — additional layers of deep rivalry, motherly love, history, death, and cultural heritage.
In other circumstances I may have tried to watch something else but my popcorn was hitting all the right notes to match the wonderful scenes of cooking and the story was clearly going somewhere. As the story was so unique, I wanted to know the thoughts behind the film. I kept on and became wrapped up in the excellent way the kimchi contest became about other more important matters.
As silly or sentimental as the film became at times I really responded to the way it dealt with identity. You think you are completely in control of what you’re doing and your life is built solely on absolutes but really — life is messy. We need the past to have a solid future. Our personal histories are made of more than the hard times we remember and each part of our life imparts a flavor that contributes to who we are now.
If you’re in the mood for something a little bit different, if you want to dive into an interesting world with a good heart and intricate relationships, that encourages food as a way of bringing people together and healing wounded souls — grab yourself a snack hit play.
The Food: Kimchi Popcorn
I went to my favorite place, an Asian grocery store where I buy almost all my food, to look for a kimchi ramen to make this popcorn but I ran across JFC Kimchi Furikake rice seasoning.
The first thing I do before anything enters my cart in any store is look at the sodium content. I have not developed the taste for heavily salted products of any kind. I rarely add salt to anything. Compared to the ramen the rice seasoning was reasonable and the ingredients really spoke to me: Kimchi (chinese cabbage, chiles, shallots, onions, ginger, garlic, chives, carrots, radish, apple, fish extract, salt, glutinous rice flour), sesame seeds, potato starch, chiles, salt, sugar, turnip greens, wasabi, seaweed.
Yes. All of that.
The next thought was what to use as a base. I didn’t think butter would work well with the more delicate flavors so I went with olive oil and canola oil to carry a little of a fried taste instead. It’s absolutely unique, it hits just the right spot, and so delicious and I can’t wait to try more rice seasonings!
- 1/4 cup corn kernels
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons oil such as canola, vegetable, or peanut
- 3 teaspoons JFC Kimchi Furikake rice seasoning
- 1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- Siracha, sambal, or red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Make the popcorn according to your favorite method. Remove the unpopped kernels and place the popcorn in a metal mixing bowl.
On medium heat add the oils, seasoning, soy sauce, and any combination of the optional ingredients. As a note on spice – the rice seasoning has a mild warmth but not a full bodied heat.
When the oil warms and the seasonings begin to sizzle slightly, pour the mixture over the popcorn. Mix to coat.
Enjoy this warm treat alone or add additional snacks to create a unique mix. Nuts, rice crackers, freshly shredded roasted nori, etc.