you can’t live in south korea for 2+ years without falling head over heels in love with korean food. heck, you can’t visit south korea for 10 days without doing so (which is what happened with dani and our family!)
when i moved back to the states, i found myself craving the spicy, flavorful food i’d fallen in love with. luckily for me, my family had discovered a wonderful, amazing place: lotte plaza in ellicott city. it’s an asian market, filled with not only korean staples, but chinese, japanese, indian, and thai – just to start. there’s also a small food court, with tables made of long, shiny slabs of wood and tree trunk stump seating.
the produce section is extensive and fresh and glorious. crabs crawl over chunks of ice and the most beautiful fish (still with eyeballs!) lie in long rows in the seafood section. aisle after aisle is filled with surprises – the refrigerated yellow radish section, the crowded shelves of thai curry pastes and sriracha and 500 different styles of soy sauce, tapioca pearls with which to make thai bubble teas, the largest variety of noodles ever seen to man … it’s always full of people, jostling for position in line, bustling through the frozen aisles, running each other down over free samples. it’s loud, and hectic, and amazing.
after living in south korea for so long, i miss it terribly. this place makes me feel at home 🙂
oh, my god – the most dreaded fruit in the world. the DURIAN. the only thing worse than the smell of this beast when you crack it open is the taste. in thailand, some friends and i had gone on a mini tour, and our wonderful tour guide stopped by a small roadside stand to pick up some fruit for his family. he treated us to a durian. because he was such a sweet man, and was so excited for us to try it, i forced some down. i almost died.
pre-peeled garlic! so much garlic! so much tasty, tasty garlic!
the most beautiful peppers you’ve ever seen in your life!
the magnificent kimchi fridge! there is also a separate section for fresh kimchi where a kind ajuma (korean lady) will shovel kimchi into various sized containers for you (much like buying potato salad at a deli). that kimchi makes AMAZING kimchi chiggae (spicy kimchi soup)
the yellow radish aisle. i do not like the yellow radish … but it’s lovely in all its yellow sunshiney-ness!
as found in any korean shop, you have the kitchen section, where you can buy everything. it makes for really fun browsing.
and of course, the korean medicinal stand. i would trust anything they gave me. when i was flying home from korea, i stopped at one of these in the airport to see if they had anything for anxiety (i hate flying). they gave me a little bottle filled with the nastiest tasting concoction on earth, but whether it really worked or i tricked myself into thinking it did, i had quite a nice flight.