Chasing Gochujang at Ko Cha

tofuBasic logic suggests a city’s sole purveyor of just about anything has a distinct economic advantage. But what happens when he or she gets tired of selling it?

Tucked into a West Ashley gas station is Ko Cha, an excellent Korean luncheonette. The folksy restaurant serves up scallion pancakes lumpy with sweet, fat shrimp; slinky japchae intertwined with fresh vegetables and an outstandingly crisped chicken donkkaseu (the Korean version of katsu, the popular Japanese cutlet), drizzled with a cross between fermented fish sauce and British brown gravy, per tradition. The kimchi is perhaps a smidge tactful for fans of raging funk, but the cucumber pickles have a lightly-spiced snap.

Understandably, many local fans of Korean cooking flock to Ko Cha — which previously did business under the name of Rice B – for their gochujang fix. The defining condiment of Korean cuisine, gochujang is a sonorous mix of chile peppers, fermented soybeans, glutinous rice and sugar. Nothing else exactly resembles the paste. Continue reading