From Grandmother’s preserves to fermented staples, ancient techniques offer health benefits & flavour
Eating & Drinking

From Grandmother’s preserves to fermented staples, ancient techniques offer health benefits & flavour

Kimchi Fried Rice
Table Sodam, 1200 Bank St.

A recent addition to the Old Ottawa South scene, Table Sodam is a second Korean café run by the owners who made Korean fried chicken the “it” dish at Table 85, their first café on Bronson. Forgo the usual fried chicken and bibimbap (though they are delicious), and instead get your ferment fix with a hearty helping of kimchi fried rice (shown above/left corner). Simple, spicy, and filling, it’s an umami-laden dish that highlights the funkiness of kimchi juice and stir-fried kimchi with the smoky saltiness of strips of pork belly and the gooey richness of a liquidy sunny-side-up egg that is meant to be stirred into the fried rice. Four jumbo shrimp on the side round things out. You won’t feel hungry again for hours. $18. — Sarah Brown

Raon, 124 Bank St.

Iruk Cho and Hana Jung began selling their own kimchi shortly after emigrating to Ottawa and launching Raon, a restaurant and food cart business. They make five varieties: napa cabbage (the best seller), spicy napa cabbage (more chili), white napa cabbage (no chili spice), radish, and cucumber. A well-known staple in Korean cooking, kimchi is incredibly versatile — try it in cocktails, in salads, even on your avocado toast. A jar in the fridge will disappear quickly. The duo now sell their condiments from their Bank Street food cart, their restaurant at 141 Laurier Ave., the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, and other shops. $13.50/650 mL.  — Katie Shapiro 

Beer Bread
Flora Hall Brewing, 37 Flora St.

Since the 1600s BC, people have made bread and beer by the simple alchemy of combining flour and water and letting it sit somewhere warm. Flora Hall Brewing continues this fermenting tradition by baking bread and brewing beer. Their Oatmeal Stout is even incorporated into their bread dough, along with molasses and honey, to slightly sweeten their whole wheat loaves. Served grilled with shallot oil and sea salt, this is a rare treat. $9 with soup, $18 with Ploughman’s Platter. 37 Flora St. — Cindy Deachman

Preserved Lemons
Chez Fatima, 125 Prom. du Portage

Anyone who has been to a school science fair knows that you can make electricity with a lemon. And the internet says if you add salt to lemon slices and put them next to your bed, you can purify the air as well as your aura. Or you can add them to your food. As a condiment, lemons that have been quartered, coated with salt, and then preserved in lemon juice electrify meals. They add salt, sour, and bitter to Middle Eastern and Moroccan fare. At Chez Fatima in Gatineau, preserved lemons (with olives) make their way into chicken and lamb tajines to delicious effect. If you preserve your own, you can also sneak them into grain bowls, raita, and curries. $18.95. 125, prom. du Portage, Gatineau. — Amelie Crosson

Golden Curry Kraut
Wild Oak Homestead

Sauerkraut, long relegated to hot dogs, is suddenly showing up on menus all over the place as chefs and pickle lovers experiment with gut-healthy krauts. Almonte’s Wild Oak Homestead kicks it up a notch with a line of crunchy, flavourful ferments that would work equally well on your next sandwich, charcuterie platter, or salad. Try their Golden Curry Kraut, which gets its unique flavour profile from golden beets, which bubble together with cabbage, ginger root, and curry. $9/500 mL. Find it at the Carp Farmers’ Market. — SB