pickled daikon

a COVID quarantine STORY

Today, I’m going to share a story about beet pickled daikon. Because this is the physical manifestation of my COVID quarantine experience if anything is. 
Needless to say, it’s been a journey.

how we got here

So basically it started a few years ago (aka mid-March), when I was innocently scrolling through food-stagram and delivery apps. This was back when a lot of restaurants were still trying to figure out what to do, whether they could stay open with delivery and take out, and what they could offer. 

I came across Bessou, a restaurant I’d been wanting to try anyways, and saw that they were donating a meal for every meal ordered as they clean out their pantry, which is pretty cool. Upon digging through their delivery offerings though, I realized they were also selling things directly from their pantry and fridge, prepped ingredients and foods to amp up home cooking. Perfect, I thought, this will help hold me over since I didn’t want to accumulate groceries before moving to a different sublet.

So there we have it. Fast forward 30 minutes later and a man in a mask hands me a heavy paper bag. In it (among other things), an entire quart of beet pickled daikon.

what does one do with an entire quart of pickled daikon?

See this is something I didn’t think about when I hit “order.” I just figured, well it’s pickled, it’ll be fine sitting in the fridge. But there it is. Every day. In the fridge. Staring at me. Taunting me. 

 A quart of something else would be no problem. A quart of soup. Or vegetables. Or rice maybe. Or even milk or yogurt. But a quart of something salty and briny where a little goes a long way… becomes a bit of a commitment. 

Soon, I found myself planning my entire week of meals around what would taste good with a garnish of pickled daikon. And I gotta say, this is the kind of mundane creative brief I needed in life. 


cold soba noodles ft. pickled daikon
vegan sandwich ft. pickled daikon
vegetarian grain bowl ft. pickled daikon
pesto breakfast bowl ft. pickled daikon
avocado toast + friends ft. pickled daikon
turmeric fried rice ft. pickled daikon

what does one do with an entire quart of pickled daikon?

Basically, build a lot of grain bowls. Or, when cooking something that needs a little zing (aka when you have no veg left and are making pantry soba with scallions, sesame oil and EBTB seasoning), top with some pickled daikon and pretend it’s gourmet. I basically ended up using it as one would watermelon radish (visually), but it does offer a punch of flavor and makes the dish taste layered without needing much else going on. 

I gotta say, my favorite usage (surprisingly) was in a sandwich. I threw it on a chicken sando with some shredded cabbage and wasabi mayo which was phenom. And then on a healthy California-inspired day, I upgraded a healthy vegan sandwich (avocado, arugula, bell pepper, carrots on multigrain bread – literally no other addition oil or salt).

When I threw the last of the daikon on my turmeric fried rice today, I felt oddly accomplished. And quite frankly, relieved that this chapter of my quarantine life is over.

All said, I still appreciate the little pop of color it brings to the grey days of quarantine.

This pickled daikon has followed me from Manhattan to Brooklyn. It’s been a faithful companion in lunches and dinners and snacks. Thank u, pickled daikon, for being my quarantine muse.