Mama O, Master of Kimchee, the Turntable


In celebration of the third annual UnFancy Food Show on Sunday, we’ve snagged an interview with Kheedim Oh, one of the newer Brooklyn food sensations participating. Cabbage-fermenter by day, dj by night, Oh makes Mama O’s Kimchee, and spins records as DJO in the band the The Beatards.

How did you get started making kimchee?
I couldn’t find any good kimchee in the stores and going back home to my parents each time I ran out was out of the question so I bought some rubber gloves and got lessons from Ma Dukes.

Ma Dukes?
My mom.

What makes it so good?
I use utmost care to preserve the integrity of the cabbage when I make the kimchee. I do my best so that the kimchee tastes fresh and is not too heavy, sour but not too salty, well cured but still light on the palate, spicy yet still pleasing to the eye. A good complement to whatever else that you are eating it with.

Why “Mama O”? And Why DJO?
Mama O is my mama and who I got the recipe from. My friend One9 gave me my DJ name. It’s my last name and it also means zero or nothing and I thought that was kinda cool. Also it’s kinda hard for someone to fuck up the pronunciation.

Favorite places to eat?
That’s a tough one. Too bad Matamoros is gone. Vannessa’s Dumplings are the best. Shopsin’s is pretty amazing. The cafeteria at Assi Market in Flushing. I really don’t give out my spots cause then it’s gonna be filled with yokels, but the cafeteria in Assi Market is amazing for cheap Korean food and if you are gonna put the effort to go to Flushing you deserve some amazing food for an amazing price. But the kimchee there is really not good, so nothing’s perfect.

What are the best things about Brooklyn?
BQE after midnight. Coney!! Shoot the freak! The grilled artichoke hearts and spicy marinara sauce at Caputo’s on Court Street.

What’s up with the Beatards?
There are three of us: UTK the INC, Chuck Wild, and myself DJO aka El Beatardo. We produce, arrange and write all our own music, do remixes, have a music blog, Mix Tape Riot and throw parties around the city. (Listen to Whatta Day, a new Beatard track you won’t find anywhere else, here, and download a sweet mixtape called Blast Off!, courtesy of DJO and Chuck Wild, here.)

Where can we see you play and where can we buy your kimchee, other than the UnFancy?
As The Beatards we do shows all over the city, Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, Hiro Ballroom. We do a monthly party called Mix Tape Riot! at Beauty Bar and a bi-weekly party called Sex Wax at Sutra. Chuck and I dj once a month the 3rd and 4th Saturday of the month at K&M in Williamsburg. We just got seven songs on The Real World Cancun’s Season Premier which aired this past Wednesday.

I have kimchee in three stores so far. Marlow and Daughters, Foragers in Dumbo, and Jeffreys in Essex Market LES.

beatardsWhat else should we know about The Beatards and Mama O’s?
I just found out a movie I was in got picked up for distribution. It’s called Toe to Toe and it was in the 2009 Sundance Festival. I believe it’s hitting theaters in the fall. Woo hoo!!! We are doing an outdoor concert on Governors Island on Saturday July 25th. It’s free and gonna be super fun. Go to for more info. Also, anyone coming to the UnFancy will get to taste my latest invention/creation — mysterious sounds go here. Holla!

Oh yeah? What do you have cooking?
Let’s just say, think the perfect interacial couple of food. Kinda like Derek Jeter’s parents if they were food products.


Sent by Annaliese. Photos courtesy of Jennie Griffin, DJO/The Beatards.

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