Cheesy Kimchi Dip, Hawaiian Style

kimchi cheese dip
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 cup (8 servings)

Hawaiian cuisine combines great elements of Asian, American, European, and traditional island cooking, and I've learned some great things from Hawaiian cooks. This is based on a Hawaiian fusion-y recipe and is an easy way to make a spicy, flavorful cheese dip.


  • 8-ounce block of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 cup of Napa kimchi (drained and chopped with juice reserved)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Garnish: 1 scallion chopped

Steps to Make It

In a bowl, mix cream cheese, half the reserved juice, and kimchi together so that it's well combined.

  1. Taste and add reserved juice as needed to make it spicier or a thinner consistency.

  2. Squeeze half a lemon into the dip and mix to combine.

  3. If using, sprinkle with chopped scallions.

  4. Serve with crackers or vegetables.

Some Interesting History of Cream Cheese from the Jewish Daily Forward:

"Leah Koenig (and Gil Marks whom she used as her source) have, through no fault of their own, contributed to perpetuating the myth of cream cheese’s origin and development in America. (“Deconstructing Cheesecake,” June 10th)...Cream cheese was not “accidentally invented by William Lawrence in 1872.”

Directions for making cream cheese can be found in a Pennsylvania newspaper as early as 1769 and in scores of American books, periodicals and cookbooks in the early 1800s. William A. Lawrence, was, however, the first to manufacture large quantities of cream cheese due to the technological transformation of the dairy industry during the second half of the 1800s.

He first began manufacturing Neufchatel cheese in 1872 and, after being approached by the New York grocery firm, Park & Tilford, to put a richer and more delicate cheese on the market, began by 1875 to make Neufchatel with cream added to it. He called his product “Cream Cheese.” Lawrence was aided by a NY distributor, Alvah L. Reynolds, who sold Lawrence’s product under the brand name: Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

It was not C.D. Reynolds (another NY dairyman) but Alvah Reynolds who bought the Empire Cheese Factory in 1892 in order to go into production for himself. In 1903, Reynolds sold his Philadelphia brand to the Phenix Cheese Co. (who, later, merged with Kraft)."

Some Notes About Hawaiian Cuisine from the CS Monitor:

"Chefs talk a lot about how Asian ingredients and cooking techniques are changing traditional European and American cuisine, but there is one place where this fusion cooking is not a trendy concept but an everyday reality: Hawaii.

Over the past several decades, the diverse peoples who reside in the Islands have quietly effected a culinary revolution. Incorporating elements from Polynesia, Japan, China, Portugal, Okinawa, Korea, Southeast Asia, and even New England, they have created a cuisine known simply as Local Food."

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