Here is the other title I considered for this post:
"Local Korean Market has a 'Lotte' Seoul"
L and I were running errands the other day near the local Korean chain of grocery stores called Lotte. I have never been in one but heard great things about Asian markets specifically that their produce is much cheaper and they have the freshest fish around at great prices.
I'm trying to get more one-on-one time with the girls and L is always one for an adventure so we popped in...and immediately started taking pictures like the tourists we are. The fact that all the signs are in Korean first, then English, kinda gives you and idea.
First we strolled through the fresh fruits and vegetables many of which I have no idea existed...or even how to cut, cook and eat. Take, for example, the durian or King Fruit.
Durian "King Fruit" photo credit: Wikipedia
Next we ventured to the prepared meals area where we found a whole batch of sushi (yes, grabbed some to-go of course), marinating ribs, a variety of seasoned tofu and veggies, a pre-packaged baby squid
and of course the Asian equivalent of the rotisserie chicken section....roast duck hanging by the crook of it's neck.
Finally, we ended our quick trip at the fish department. "Mommy! Look! Those fish have their eyes! Are they still alive?" I hear you just have to ask and the fishmonger will skin and fillet any fish you want to buy. The market was busy that day so I stuck with the pre-cleaned and cut packages of sole and salmon, but not before eyeing the open containers of self-serve shark steaks. Just pick up the tongs, grab a bag, and load up!
I have to say my neurotic self was itching to grab the hand sanitizer and slather it on both of our hands. But I pushed those thoughts back and adopted the 'When in Rome' attitude. Sometimes the best way to know the fish is fresh is to touch it, smell it, hold it - we do it for fruit, why not for fish?
I also have to also note - I haven't been to other Asian markets but this store was Pristine with a capital P...not easy for any grocery store.
My basket quickly started to fill and we had only been down the far right side of the store! I'm definitely heading back there this weekend for produce and just to see what else there is. On the way to check out they had samples of a new grape juice that L seemed to really like. It was tart, almost unsweetened, but tasty all the same.
The BEST part? I got a basket full of fruit, veggies, sauce and fish for under $30.
What should I look for next time?
If anyone has experience shopping at Asian markets I would LOVE some tips on foods to try.