Monday, August 25, 2014

Korean Snack Fix

Skatewing is 홍어, better known as "fish fermented in its own pee." They also have radish kimchi, which I really like! All of these side dishes are in a huge bar in the Han Kook Supermarket, but no tasting, please!
Welcome to the Bay Area, where those who are nostalgic about the great food they had in Asia never have to travel far to find it again. I helped my brother and sister-in-law move into their new place in the South Bay. Luckily for them, not ten minutes away there are a huge number of Asian markets and restaurants, including the enormous Han Kook Supermarket (한국슈퍼마켓) in Sunnyvale. I went to check it out with my aunt and uncle, who told me they like to get Korean side dishes (반찬) there.

The place is like a miniature E-Mart. Most of it is groceries with goods imported from Korea, Japan, and possibly Taiwan, but there are also small sections for accessories, beauty products, and electronics, just like in a typical department store. I amused myself by reading the English translations of snacks and foods that I'd learned only in Korean.
Everyone knows Choco Pie, right? It doesn't need an explanation in Korea. But in America, they have to make sure you know that the stuff in the middle is marshmallow filling, and also that "IT'S FLUFFY." 
My absolute favorite milk shake in a bag, 설레임, has been translated as "snow ice." Well, 설 does mean "snow," but I never really understood what "레임" meant. It certainly doesn't mean "ice," since that would be the more recognizable (and more delicious) 설빙 (Sulbing)! Anyway, I succeeded in getting my family hooked on 설레임.
My family also went to a Korean barbecue place for dinner last night, and it made me more than a bit nostalgic. I got to practice a bit of Korean with the waitstaff and explained what I knew about the different foods we ordered. I'm certainly going to look for my local Korean markets and restaurants in Berkeley; I'm very lucky indeed that I get to spend the next five years in Northern California.

On a related note, I thought this was really cute: