In Deep Kim Chee And Loving It

Alana Folen
Wednesday - July 27, 2011
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Kim Chee Lee: ‘Modestly spicy … radically hot’

Alice Lee and Rae Leong, partners and owners of Wela Partners LLP dba Kim Chee Lee, are spicing things up with a kim chee that they say is “modestly spicy ... radically hot.”

Kim Chee Lee took off this past December and is sold at all Times Supermarkets and select Foodland stores on Oahu for less than $3 per 8ounce container.

“The idea came about because we were raised eating good kim chee and couldn’t find it in mainstream markets,” Lee says. “So when we would share the kim chee at gatherings and parties, people would ask for the recipe, and of course we couldn’t share a family secret, so they would hint and encourage us to make it available for everyone to enjoy.”

This one-of-a-kind kim chee, made from head cabbage, turnip, won bok, Hawaiian salt, garlic, powdered peppers, pepper flakes and other ingredients, is derived from a family recipe Lee and Leong say was passed down to them by their great-grandmother.

“It’s the love that we have for what we do that creates the end result,”

Lee explains. “You’ve got to love what you’re doing in the kitchen to create magic!

“The taste is unlike anything you’ll find in the mainstream market it’s rich in flavor and lives up to its name of being ‘modestly spicy, radically hot.’ The mix of head cabbage, won bok and daikon is cut coleslawstyle for easier consumption, especially in and on sandwiches.”

According to the Kim chee expert duo, Kim Chee Lee caters to the broader market and not just a handful of those who can handle the heat.

“It’s that niche that we’re catering to, so while we would love to have it spicier, we have to temper it to reach the majority of people,” Lee explains.

Currently, the company is producing approximately 300 to 350 units of kim chee per month with every intent of increasing its market and sales.

And while aware of the harsh realities of being an entrepreneur, Lee and Leong have taken it upon themselves to devote a countless amount of hours and dedication to their culinary craft in order to achieve success.

“Patience, perseverance and resilience are the three elements that you need to survive this long entrepreneurial process. The sky’s the limit, but the rewarding aspect is knowing people appreciate our product,” Lee says.

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