I’ve had a fairly Korean-intensive past few days. One of the highlights was an incredible movie I saw at the New York Korean Film Festival over at BAM. Forget that lame review in Time Out New York. If you missed Le Grande Chef, then start counting the days until it comes out on DVD. For foodies, it’s a must-see movie. And for lovers of Asian cinema, it’s not to be missed. The movie was just so much better than I could have ever imaged — funny, sad, and exciting, all at once. I guess the movie got me inspired, because I’ve been doing a lot of Korean cooking lately. Inspiration also came from a cool cookbook my girlfriend gave me. I checked the sources at the back of the book, and I noticed a listing for HanAhReum Asian Mart in New Jersey. I looked it up on the Web and found that the market, better known as H Mart, has locations all around the country, including one just 8 miles from my house. I hopped in my car. What I found wasn’t just an amazing food market, the biggest Asian market I’ve ever seen with an incredible selection of Korean-specific ingredients, but also a mini mall with shops to buy Korean books, clothing, CDs, housewares, and more. As for the supermarket itself, just take a look at these photos to get an idea of how amazing it is.
After a lot of shopping, we’d worked up an appetite. Good thing there was a huge food court also inside the market. I was a little dubious because the prices were dirt cheap, but we went for it.
Kimbop (aka kim bab) is always a fun way to start off a meal. I’ve written about it before, but in case you need a lesson, it’s basically Korean sushi. The fillings (beef and tuna are popular) are cooked, but as you can see, the rolls are made with rice and wrapped in seawood, just like Japanese-style sushi rolls.
The spicy rice cakes really stood out. What’s not to love with all that sauce, a whole boiled egg, the rice cakes of course, some bean curd stuff, noodles, and veggies. I wish I could get good, cheap meals like this every night.