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Bringing kimchi back to the states
« on: December 04, 2012, 06:10:42 am »
I made kimchi in a Korean cultural class yesterday, and I'm flying home on Thursday. I'd really love to be able to get it home, but I'm worried about it exploding all over my suitcase. Has anyone been successful in taking homemade kimchi to the US? If so, how did you wrap it and did you put it in your checked bag or carry-on? Cheers!


  • tremault
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    • December 04, 2012, 03:54:58 am
    • north wales
Re: Bringing kimchi back to the states
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2012, 07:02:49 am »
you need to be most concerned about it spoiling.
you'll need to keep it in a refrigeration container.
that's going to be expensive, I imagine.

without refrigeration, any tiny amount of bacteria in a food product doubles every five minutes or so.
the amount of time you would be travelling back to the USA from korea, your food will be toxic by the time you get back home.

(in ideal conditions, there would be 16million times more bacteria after just two hours.)
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 07:06:14 am by tremault »


Re: Bringing kimchi back to the states
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2012, 07:09:59 am »
Interesting, I didn't realize kimchi could spoil. The chef that instructed the kimchi class told us to actually keep it out of the fridge for a few days.


  • JahRhythm
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Re: Bringing kimchi back to the states
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2012, 07:12:21 am »
Ask a Korean. They travel with kimchi all the time.
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Re: Bringing kimchi back to the states
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 07:53:19 am »
No, Kimchi is technically vegetation. Customs agents won't l;et you bring it in unless you get it certified etc. etc.

You can buy some at the airport from duty free. Its not bad.


Also,  what are you talking about tremault?
Quote
you need to be most concerned about it spoiling.

It is fermented cabbage that is aged in jars outside year round. The whole point in preservation is to keep it from spoiling. You also leave it out after you make it to make sure it ferments a bit before putting it away.


  • chuck2657
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Re: Bringing kimchi back to the states
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 08:13:22 am »
Uhg, why would you want to :P ?

I was also under the impression that you were supposed to leave it un-refrigerated for a period of time after making it in order to give it a kick start.  There's also good bacteria in it that need to multiply as well.

As said earlier, refrigeration does not kill bacteria, it simply makes the reproduce at a very slow rate.  They still reproduce (example a your fridge when you leave old food in it...) but more slowly.  If its frozen, most bacteria (none that I know of, but I'm sure there's examples out there) do not reproduce at all.  Anyways, some Koreans keep kimchee around for a long time...as in a year or two in the fridge.  I'd think if was solely a case of bacteria reproduction you might be alright...but who knows for certain I suppose.  I guess you'd have to try it (or talk to someone who has taken it on a flight) and see if mold/weird bubbles form.

Also, the stuff smells.  And not just a little scent of kimchee....it smells really strong!  There was a small container in a SUV for an hour or so, and it stunk of the entire vehicle pretty potently.  The smell seems to get much stronger when the kimchee is warm.  Although I suppose the smell is strong enough to make everything in a fridge smell like kimchee as well.  Actually, it probably makes the entire kitchen smell.  I suppose that's why there are separate units for them.

The point about whether or not they'll let you take it across borders is also a good point.


  • bawaugh
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Re: Bringing kimchi back to the states
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 08:23:41 am »
As an aside, don't even think of taking Kimchi to New Zealand or Australia unless you are willing to declare and possibly lose it, customs there would fine and fine some more if you did not declare it. (They would fine for an apple for example).


But if you are going to the states that is a different issue, and from the comments it appears that they let airport Kimchi through. Best declare it otherwise you risk getting asked a lot of questions and getting possible fines etc..
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n is number of moles
R is the gas constant
T is the temperature


  • tremault
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    • December 04, 2012, 03:54:58 am
    • north wales
Re: Bringing kimchi back to the states
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2012, 09:03:51 am »
hey guys, sorry about my mistake!
I did a quick search to check what exactly it is and skimming over the text saw a lot of talk about fresh vegetables.
I will check more thoroughly next time ^_^;


  • taewon
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Re: Bringing kimchi back to the states
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2012, 09:16:38 am »
Get a polystyrene box from the post office, put the kimchi in clear sealed bags, use a few ice packs (keeps the smell down) but first check with local customs you can take it by providing a list of ingredients used, usually there's restrictions on fresh/uncooked foods.
I've taken kimchi to NZ, they were hesitant to let it pass but they did because I could tell them what was in it and I was there when it was made, being able to describe the process was the biggie for them.
Worst case just take it and declare it. You may lose it but so what.
Rocket got it right :wink:
I took some to the states and didn't declare it, just left it in my checked baggage. Rocket is correct how to package it.
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Re: Bringing kimchi back to the states
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2012, 09:18:50 am »
Just speculating - you should put it in a strong case that won't open easily. Then you should probably bubble wrap it many times.

Also, if you really want to share kimchi with your family you can find a Korea supermarket in the States and buy kimchi there. You can also buy the ingredients at the supermarket to make it at home.