Rachel Baron

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To Kheedim Oh, anyone can be the Super Spicy Kimchi-Eating Champion of the Universe.

All you have to do is come to this Sunday’s ninth annual KimchiPalooza, on August 18. It’s a celebration of food, music, and friends hosted at local BBQ joint Arrogant Swine, and enter the Super Spicy Kimchi-Eating Contest. If you’re feeling more sadistic than masochistic, you can sit back and watch the self-inflicted torture instead.

Oh is the founder of Mama O’s Premium Kimchi, and hosts KimchiPalooza for free to give thanks to Mama O’s many supporters.

“I wanted to do an event that’s like, thank you, please, have one on us,” said Oh.

KimchiPalooza 2018.

Mama O’s started in Oh’s Brooklyn apartment in around 2009, where he started making kimchi according to his mother, the eponymous Mama O’s, recipe. It’s a far cry from the cheaper, mass-produced stuff that used to be all that was available. “When you make kimchi at home, you’re on the ground doing the kimchi squat. Everything’s all hand-measured,” Oh said.

Once he realized there was a market for homemade, small-batch kimchi in New York City, he introduced it to a handful of local businesses. With his products now in stores nationwide, from Whole Foods to Fairway, Oh wanted to thank the people who bought his kimchi at the start and helped him grow the business.

Along with the kimchi-eating competition, guests can eat kimchi with Arrogant Swine’s Carolina-style barbecue, make their own kimchi to take home, and, new this year, participate in a “Sip and Paint” drawing competition (similar to a drink and draw). The first 10 people to sign up can enter to paint “The Great Cabbage” and take home a trophy and a year’s supply of free kimchi.

The event is a “celebration of life through food, music and friends,” Oh said.

A former DJ and concert-promoter, Oh always brings on a lineup of local musicians. Playing this Sunday will be Ki(Live), Ovareasy, Cushions, Blind Benny, Looms, and Unbroken.

The event will start at 1 p.m. The Sip and Paint will go from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and the Super Spicy Kimchi Eating Competition will begin at 6 p.m. Arrogant Swine is at 173 Morgan Ave., in Brooklyn.

Images courtesy of Mama O’s.

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