Food Shopping: Korean Food Market

IMG_1894 (1)
Located in Toronto’s Korean Town, this corner store hides many gems behind its unpretentious facade.

As I have mentioned previously, I actually enjoy food shopping. Regular weekly grocery store runs put me in the ‘medium happy’ bracket, but any kind of specialty or ethnic food store sends me over the moon. Today was the day to visit a Korean Food Market.

P.A.T. Central looks like any other small ethnic supermarket, but wait until you get inside! It is not ‘new and shiny’ store with carefully arranged displays and immaculate rows of produce, but I am pretty sure that within its walls you will find anything you need for a night of Asian cooking.

IMG_1886.jpg
Look at all this goodness! I literally can walk up and down the isles for hours just reading the labels.

 

Here I feel that I must make a confession. My name is Violetta and I am addicted to Gamjatang (Korean pork bone soup). I hope that I get the chance to eat it when I die and go to heaven, or wherever it is that I will end up. This particular soup is nothing short of magic. I first tried it at a little kiosk at my work’s food court, run by a Korean family. Aptly called Crispy Greenz, they specialize in salads and healthy smoothies, but have a limited menu of Korean dishes. The first time I bought the soup I was actually seduced my the promise of kimchi that comes on the side of it (in my books, you can never go wrong with kimchi). $10+tax later, the soup, a little dish of sticky rice and a tiny container of kimchi in front of me, I was falling in love with my first ever spoon of Gamjatang. It was perfectly spicy, incredibly flavourful and oh so satisfying. I usually like to bring my own lunch 4 days a week, keeping Fridays as a ‘treat’ day when my food is cooked by anyone but me, so I became a Friday regular at the Crispy Greenz. At some point I realized that I want to enjoy my pork bone soup more than once a week and it was time to learn how to make it on my own. I will be posting the recipe of the soup at some point in the future, but this post is dedicated to the joy of shopping for some of the ingredients.

Greens, for example:

IMG_1874
Perilla leaves.Β  Flavourful and delicate, they are also great to use as a ‘taco shell’ with Korean BBQ pork inside. I was introduced to them by a great friend, who is Korean. Hi, Anita!

And lovely sprouts:

IMG_1871
You may be entertained by misspelled labels ;). I actually wondered for a split second if ‘ahoots’ was a thing. What can I say, English is not my first language…

Meat counter is great and this is where I find a very particular cut of pork: neck bones. This one is used for Gamjatang:

IMG_1877
The price is quite amazing and the owner of Crispy Greenz swears that broth made with these bones is ‘pure health’. I tend to agree.

And who can pass unmoved by this display?!! Look at the all the jars of kimchi!

IMG_1883

On to a rather rare delicacy, which I do not need for my soup, but felt compelled to take a picture:

IMG_1888.jpg
Quail eggs? Sure, why not!

Another item that I don’t need but love:

IMG_1889.jpg
Tofu!

And what about the sauces? They are not needed for the soup, but are a great pantry item. I have an awesome recipe for ‘Lazy Korean-ish BBQ Pork’ that involves jarred store bought sauces (coming to the blog soon):

And last but not least and very important ingredients for my soup: soybean paste and Korean red pepper paste:

IMG_1891.jpg

And here is a sneak peak at Gamjatang in the making, broth stage:

IMG_1904
Add water and set to simmer for a few long hours

Do you have any favourite food stores? I would absolutely love to know πŸ™‚

16 thoughts on “Food Shopping: Korean Food Market

  1. It’s so much fun to go in to different grocery stores. Tonight for date night me and hubby are going to a Korean restaurant actually.. Not sure what to expect but looking forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So they’re called perilla leaves! We’ve been wondering what those large serrated leaves that always show up with samgyeopsal were. 😝 Those aisles are pretty much how our regular supermarkets look in the Philippines. Hehe. πŸ˜‹

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s