Every time I go to an Asian grocer (I live a few miles from an H-Mart, lucky me), I always see a shelf filled with this jarred marmalade, but never considered buying it. This changed when Abbie Rhoads, a mixologist at Chicago’s Parachute, introduced me to the beautiful world of yuja-cheong—and now I can’t find enough excuses to add a spoonful into my drinks.
What is yuja-cheong? It’s marmalade, popular in Korean food culture, made from the yuzu fruit. Yuzu tastes a bit like grapefruit, lemon, lime, and orange all cross-bred into a super citrus. Jarred yuja-cheong comes as a sticky marmalade with bits of yuzu rind intact, which adds an appealing bitterness to the proceedings.
The most popular application is stirring in a few spoonful of yuja-cheong with hot water to create ready-made yujacha, the Korean answer to honey-lemon tea. But I’ve been playing around with it, and found the marmalade delicious stirred in with half lemonade-half seltzer water and a splash of tequila (or a drink for kids without the alcohol, obviously). In the header image above, I added a spoonful of yuja-cheong with water and a splash of roasted strawberry syrup (yes it was awesome). It’s also delicious slathered onto toasted English muffin or on scones. (My colleague/beer columnist Kate Bernot also recommends this IPA brewed with yuzu.)
Anyways, the possibilities are endless, as they say. The jar at my local H-Mart was under $5 so it’s reasonable investment for a product with loads of tasty applications.