December 19, 2010 § 2 Comments
Today was a glorious day. I got to go to the Korean market. Alone.
Although the reasons for why this was a momentous event should be clear, I will detail the reasons for those who do not know me.
There are no Korean markets around where I live. Coming from Los Angeles, the utopia of all things kyopo (Korean-American), I was forlorn to discover that the closest Korean market to Berkeley was a tiny little store in Oakland. The store is cramped and disorganized but it has the essentials so I faithfully frequented it for a good five years. After I moved, the closest market even remotely Asian is a 99 Ranch, twenty minutes away. Now don’t get me wrong, I like 99 Ranch. But their kimchi offerings are really weak. Most Korean markets have a whole aisle of kimchi bottles from well known Korean vendors. 99 Ranch had two measly little jars that would only feed a real Korean for two meals, max. The kimchi also had no Korean characters on it and looked like it was produced by non-Koreans. I bought a jar last week but it only lasted me a few days. I was quite the pitiful picture the other day. I had made a pot of ramen and was sitting down to eat it but I had no kimchi or pickles to eat it with. Ultimately I had to eat it with pickled ginger that was supposed to go with sushi. It was not tasty.
The Korean market I went to (in Santa Clara) was pretty nice. Santa Clara has about three so I had my pick of the bunch. I think it was called Super Kyo-Po. It had all the Korean foods and brands that I recognized from my childhood so I felt like a kid in a candy store.
So to finish the explanation, in addition to being in a proper Korean market I was also grocery shopping alone. On all other grocery runs, I am usually hindered by the incessant interjections of a certain someone either asking if the food in question is spicy or commenting on how expensive it is. Today I was FREE! Unfettered from the shackles of a non-Korean’s taste buds!
It was amazing. I went a little crazy and I had to go back a few times and put back some items. I went through every aisle twice and carefully inspected every food item to make sure that I didn’t need it. I got all my favorite foods and I made sure to stock up on things that won’t go bad. Koreans are so ingenious with their food presentation and everything is packaged so adorably.
I know rationally it didn’t make sense to buy so much since the Korean market is only about an hour away but realistically, I knew that there was very little probability that I or that unnamed someone would drive for two hours (round trip) just to get groceries any time soon.
Now that I discovered Santa Clara’s wealth of Korean markets I am going to have to invent new excuses to justify the drive. 🙂 It’s amazing how happy I can get from something I never thought twice about when I was younger. Although I have always loved supermarkets (my solace in times of stress), today was especially great.