After the pandemic hit Fiji, hubby and I noticed a proliferation of locally produced food products by small business owners. It was heartening to see people being so resourceful, and we happily support these small indie producers when we see products that interest us.
One new product we saw on the shelves of our neighborhood supermarket soon after the pandemic hit was kimchi, under the brand “Ou’s Treat.” We were surprised to see it there, and we were intrigued so we took home a package.
The price is fair (about $5 USD) for an amount that lasts for several uses throughout the week. We like pairing it with ramen or rice dishes for an extra kick of flavor and healthy probiotics.
We buy the kimchi pretty regularly, and the quality is consistently good. I like the flavor profile’s balance between tart, sweet and heat. I also like that Ou uses long slices of green onion; the green is a beautiful contrast with the red-orange tone of the kimchi, and the texture of the green onion is like slivers of spinach.
Since we are regular customers, the owner of Ou’s Treat, Dylan Ou, who is based in Suva, rewarded us with free goodies to sample. He gave us a generous gift bag with containers of roast pork, chicken dumplings, meatballs, kimchi, pickled daikon, chilis marinating in oil, and chicken chili sauce.
We ate the roast pork, chicken dumplings and meatballs the day we got them from Ou. They looked and smelled so good when I opened their containers that I wanted to eat them right away. They were delicious. The roast pork had crispy skin and a tasty infusion of spices with a nice balance of salt, sweet and herbal notes. The dumplings were stuffed with diced chicken and were flavorful without needing dipping sauces. I liked the green onion slices in the meatballs, and I can picture pairing the meatballs with ramen.
The pickled daikon is an excellent side dish if you want to add a punch of tart flavor. I can taste black vinegar and sugar in the mix. I served the pickled daikon as a side with a vegetarian noodle stir fry for a weeknight dinner.
The chilis marinating in oil is an easy complement to many dishes. The chilis are bongos (which are similar to Jamaican scotch bonnets), and the heat is a slow burn. It’s good for adding a slick of moisture and peppery spice to any given dish, as is the the chicken-flavored chili sauce. I tried both the chili marinade and the chili sauce (which is really a chili oil) on a couscous dish, and I like how it subtly enhanced the flavor with a bit of fat and heat.