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A Trip to Seoul Market PDF Print E-mail
Written by Cris   
Monday, 08 May 2006

seoul market

When I started making my Korean pickles this weekend I knew that I was going to need some "Chinese chives" that I did not know how to find.

I also was unsure about just how exactly some of the things I wanted to make were supposed to turn out, so I decided to take a trip over to the Korean market to see if they had my chives, and get some snacks to take home too  sm_biggrin


 

 


This store has an amazing assortment of products in a tiny amount of space.  I felt like they were a little weirded out by me taking pictures, so I did not cover the store as well as I would have liked, but I did get a few highlights.

They have lots of fresh "Asian" produce, condiments, lots of kimchis, huge bags of rice and all assorted sizes of red pepper (an essential!).  And yes they had my chives.  Actually they were Korean Chives, but all the better I thought.


mmmmmm kimchi.....




What am I going to do with all these chives I got for $2?  I only needed the tiniest handful of them!



I also got these huge green onions



and these "baby" radishes to try to make some radish kimchi or other radish pickle.

There is nothing baby in size about them though- they are as big as a small turnip.




They also have a nice meat and "deli" counter where you can get freshly sliced meats for your own Korean BBQ at home and some prepared side dishes too.  I asked if I could take the nice lady behind the counter's picture, but she turned shy and decided not to.  Ah well- I leave it to your imagination.

I got my favorite bean sprouts and spinach - both are excellent, flavored with sesame oil.



I also got some Oi Sobagi (stuffed cucumber kimchi) to use as a comparison to the batch I had made





and some awesome Korean veggie pancakes.  They were so fresh that they were still warm when I picked up the package.

 (AND when I got home!!)




But I am still leaving one thing out.   

Yes- I finally faced my fears and bought some of the scary trash can pickles. (little did I know,but Seoul Market is famous for the pickles.  See Below)



I am usually pretty tolerant of weird foods, and am quite adventurous when we eat out- but until this weekend I always gave these gems a wide berth.  Something about them sitting right out in the middle of the store- I don't know.  However since I was making some myself when I got home, I needed a control sample to compare to and fished out a few to bring home.

The man in the store told me they make these every Monday and they take about a week and a half until they are fully ready. So they are turned over rather frequently, and as I would discover in my own recipe- they are so salty, there is no possibility that they could spoil even if left out for weeks.



The hole in the center is typical of Korean pickles I gather.  Any time we are served them in a restaraunt, the come this way, but are sliced extremely thin, and they only give you a tiny amount as a side dish.  I am left always wanting more!  Now I had my own bag of them- Muwahaha.... sm_biggrin

As soon as I bit into one, I discovered why they serve them the way they do.  They are REALLY SALTY!

And I like salt.  A lot.  But I say it again. These are SALTY PICKLES.  To give you an idea, my grandmother's pickles have about 1 cup of salt per 6 quarts of liquid.  The Korean recipe I made later that day had 2 cups of salt for only 7 1/2 cups of liquid!

They sure were good though.  I ate them all in the course of the weekend. I don't even have any left to compare to my batch.  (they turned out terrible by the way!  I have to try again soon.  See the forums for the step by step on my failure!)

 UPDATE!

This information comes in from reader Ji Young of Los Angeles

Seoul Market is one of the oldest existing mom and pop Korean grocery stores in the Valley. They're well known for their cucumber pickles especially amongst the older generation. 
 
Makes me a little nostalgic for the days in Los Angeles before all those huge, glitzy Korean supermarkets opened up.  
 
So, what you do is soak slice the cucumbers and soak them in water until they've released enough salt to suit your taste.  
 
Drain them, gently squeeze out excess moisture and season with a little sesame oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, maybe a little sugar. You know the standard stuff. 
 
Or you can make a sort of "cold soup" by adding cold water, rice wine vinegar, finely chopped scallions,etc.. 
 
If it's any consolation to you these seeemingly simple looking pickles are one of the hardest to execute well.  

Thanks Ji :)


Well that's about it...

If you are in Los Angeles, and want to try something new or have your own mini food adventure, please visit:

 

seoul market

 

Valley Seoul Market
(818) 342-2896
7614 Reseda Blvd
Reseda, CA 91335


I barely even scratched the surface Smiley

-cris  {moscomment}

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 June 2006 )
 
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