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What to bring back from Korea?


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A Korean friend of mine is returning to Korea this summer for a month and she said I should give her a list of things I would like her to buy. I pick up various things for her every time I return to the US (mostly baking goods) but I am coming up blank with Korean food items.

all I can think of is Korean seaweed (nori) and chile pepper...

What are some (light and not too expensive:biggrin: ) items you just can't leave Korea with ut?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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-some artisanal gochujang or ssamjang

-yuja-cha (but maybe too heavy) is about 1/4 the price of Japanese brands and sometimes made with higher fruit content (50-55% is best)

-omija-cha seeds for a kind of medicinal tea

-I liked a kind of hobak candy (taffy-style pumpkin candy) found in Insadong

-Lots of yeott (sweets) made from sesame or peanuts or other nuts

-good soju would be nice, but you can get equally interesting shochu in Japan, and you don't drink much :P I sometimes like baek seju which is made with sweet potato and maybe ginseng, and has a sake-like alcohol level.

-malt powder to make your own shikhae, but this is easy and cheap to get in the US... never tried to get in in Japan.

I guess you can also get some good dried squid snacks and so on. It wasn't in my realm of need...

Edited by JasonTrue (log)

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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Something to note about the hobak candy (taffy-like candy)...if you get some, try to eat it within a day (maybe two). It melts pretty quickly, so if your friend can't get it to you soon after her return, I wouldn't suggest asking for it.

But it was good!!! I liked the matcha one.

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The hobak (pumpkin) taffy is pretty durable, just like any other taffy.

Maybe you are thinking of yong su-yeom yeott, or dragon beard candy? Except for the version that I import, this one tends to melt very quickly.

Something to note about the hobak candy (taffy-like candy)...if you get some, try to eat it within a day (maybe two).  It melts pretty quickly, so if your friend can't get it to you soon after her return, I wouldn't suggest asking for it. 

But it was good!!!  I liked the matcha one.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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What are some (light and not too expensive:biggrin: ) items you just can't leave Korea with ut?

Koreans. Quite light (carry-on appropriate), big grins, wildly popular here.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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-some artisanal gochujang or ssamjang

-yuja-cha (but maybe too heavy) is about 1/4 the price of Japanese brands and sometimes made with higher fruit content (50-55% is best)

-omija-cha seeds for a kind of medicinal tea

-I liked a kind of hobak candy (taffy-style pumpkin candy) found in Insadong

-Lots of yeott (sweets) made from sesame or peanuts or other nuts

-good soju would be nice, but you can get equally interesting shochu in Japan, and you don't drink much :P I sometimes like baek seju which is made with sweet potato and maybe ginseng, and has a sake-like alcohol level.

-malt powder to make your on shikhae, but this is easy and cheap to get in the US... never tried to get in in Japan.

I guess you can also get some good dried squid snacks and so on. It wasn't in my realm of need...

Excellent list!

I'll add stone ground sesame oil

roasted salt

stone ground apricot oil for the skin

myung nan jeot (pollack roe)

wild sesame seeds (my mom added some to ssam jang. It can be added to light soups as well. I had a duck broth with noodles and a mushroom chongeol with it)

(maybe a few bags of rice :biggrin: )

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I got a tube of Korean Hot Pepper Paste there that was fabulous, I practically sucked the thing dry. Wish I could tell you more than it was white with a yellow cap and a bunch of writing I couldn't read . . .

Make sure you eat lots of Bulgogi for me!! Though I cannot recommend the Bulgogi Whopper at Burger King :huh:

I wish I'd bought a Bulgogi grill.

Julie

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It doesn't match the weight target, but I always wanted to pick up a couple of dol sot (stone bowls) for bibimbap... Fortunately there are adequate, inexpensive options here in Seattle but I keep on thinking I'll find the perfect one when I next have a chance to go to Korea.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I'll add stone ground sesame oil

roasted salt

stone ground apricot oil for the skin

myung nan jeot (pollack roe)

wild sesame seeds (my mom added some to ssam jang.  It can be added to light soups as well. I had a duck broth with noodles and a mushroom chongeol with it)

(maybe a few bags of rice  :biggrin: )

I will be picking up plenty of rice on my trip to the US at the same time. :biggrin:

Could you give me Korean names for the stone ground sesame oil, roasted salt and wild sesame seeds. My friend doesn't speak English and I wouldn't even know what these are in Japanese.....

Thank you!

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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It doesn't match the weight target, but I always wanted to pick up a couple of dol sot (stone bowls) for bibimbap... Fortunately there are adequate, inexpensive options here in Seattle but I keep on thinking I'll find the perfect one when I next have a chance to go to Korea.

I was thinking about this, but I have a family of 5.....

I do want some of those wonderful Korean spoons though.... :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I know the intent is more towards food but the spoon and the stone bowl post got me thinking...

Have your friend go to Insadong and get some korean Ceramics. My wife and I love our ceramic pieces we've picked up in Korea over the years. The really nice stuff are tough to find in the US where as everyday spoons, bowls and tables are available at most korean grocery stores.

For food I second the really good Kochujang and DenJang. Also dried parsimmons. Yum.

Soup

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In Japan I'm sure Torakris has good access to ceramics, but I do agree there's some very nice work at a few of the ceramics shops in Korea.

I recommend the three or four part teacups meant for green tea. They have a removable infusion sieve insert, a lid, a cup, and sometimes a saucer. They are great for those moments when there are only one or two people around but someone wants a little cup of nokcha... Or for accommodating groups of people with different preferences for infusion strength.

I also seek out the pottery with contrasting clay inlays... With celadon ware, this is usually one iron-containing and one iron-free clay to provide a contrasting color between the glaze reactive iron-based clay and non-reactive other clay. The contrasting patterns are carved away and then the other clay is pushed into wedges on the clay. The textures are often quite nice. (My matcha cookies were presented in these plates but the texture is, alas, obscured by the cookies).

I'm less excited by typical crane motifs and so on but Insadong is a good place for both common traditional pieces and some interesting contemporary work.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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The hobak (pumpkin) taffy is pretty durable, just like any other taffy.

Maybe you are thinking of yong su-yeom yeott, or dragon beard candy? Except for the version that I import, this one tends to melt very quickly.

Possibly. This was a taffy-like candy that we bought from a guy in Insadong. He had a little cart set up and was making it on the spot. There were three flavours--pumpkin, matcha, and maybe goma? I'm not sure what the third one was. It didn't melt as in turn to liquid, each piece just lost its shape, turned into a blob, and was very difficult to get out of the tray. This was after about two days. By the time we got back to Japan, they were very unpretty, so we ended up not giving them as gifts, as planned.

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If they were very fine strands (before melting), then this is the Korean version of dragon beard candy.

db240w.jpg

The one that I import doesn't melt until the individual trays are unsealed. But the texture is a bit different than the street one: a little more delicate/refined and actually meant to be served chilled.

The one that Sejong company in Korea makes needs to be stored refrigerated to be kept for any length of time.

Possibly.  This was a taffy-like candy that we bought from a guy in Insadong.  He had a little cart set up and was making it on the spot.  There were three flavours--pumpkin, matcha, and maybe goma?  I'm not sure what the third one was.  It didn't melt as in turn to liquid, each piece just lost its shape, turned into a blob, and was very difficult to get out of the tray.  This was after about two days.  By the time we got back to Japan, they were very unpretty, so we ended up not giving them as gifts, as planned.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I have never seen anything like that dragon beard candy!

I will ask her about it.

I think I might save ceramics for a trip that I actually take. :biggrin: We have been talking about taking a long weekend trip sometime (probably a year or two later) without husbands and children...

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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If they were very fine strands (before melting), then this is the Korean version of dragon beard candy.

db240w.jpg

The one that I import doesn't melt until the individual trays are unsealed. But the texture is a bit different than the street one: a little more delicate/refined and actually meant to be served chilled.

The one that Sejong company in Korea makes needs to be stored refrigerated to be kept for any length of time.

It's definitely not dragon beard candy. Looks lovely, though! The fine strand remind me of the sai mai part of roti sai mai--one of my favourite Thai snacks!

The stuff we bought was very much like taffy. In fact, before we bought it I made a comment to my friend about it looking like taffy, and the guy making it asked us if we were American, since Americans always called it taffy.

As I mentioned before, they didn't turn to liquid, they just lost their shape. Although we went in the fall, it was quite warm when we went and it was a few days before we were able to get them back to Japan. By that time, all hope was lost for them (though my friend took one box, peeled each candy out one by one and ate them all at once). They were definitley no longer gift-giving material, though.

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Red ginseng candy is nice. Renesse is a good brand, heres some pics of food stocks in our pantry brought back from korea. Copius amounts of seaweed :) (kim) , grain powder for making instand drinks, ginseng tea and candy for gifts, thats about it pretty basic.

gallery_31468_1340_159856.jpg

&

gallery_31468_1340_218608.jpg

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It doesn't match the weight target, but I always wanted to pick up a couple of dol sot (stone bowls) for bibimbap... Fortunately there are adequate, inexpensive options here in Seattle but I keep on thinking I'll find the perfect one when I next have a chance to go to Korea.

I've seen them for sale at the Korean markets in LA. They aren't much more expensive then what they cost in Korea. So there is an importer, you could probably get some at wholesale prices for your site.

EDIT to add: A few years back William Sonoma used to sell the stone grills too, it was in their catalogue

Edited by touaregsand (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Prasantrin maybe because the candy was fresh was why it disintegrated so fast. I'm in the US and that pumpkin taffy I get at the store here lasts a while.

That Chinese dragon beard candy fricking amazing and expensive. Yeah, that totally disintegrates fast unless it's kept sealed because the sugar starting sucking all the water out of the air and wilting beofre your eyes. I was not aware Koreans had a version.

Had some specialty ssamjang other day, oh my god blew my mind. I just ate a ton of it with rice and lettuce leaves and nothing else. If you can get some of this and some really good gochujang, life is good.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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