Monday, March 2, 2009

Korean Food, Sarangheyo!!!

Among my friends, it's widely known that I have a hearty appetite when it comes to Korean food. Kalbi, bulgolgi, bibimbap, sundubu chigae, duk bok gi, haemul pajun, kimchi bokum bap, pat bing soo, kochujang...I love it all!

On my last visit to the Korean grocery store H mart, I thought I'd try a Cream Biscuit. The pastry and dessert section seems to have more variety on Saturdays. A flood of customers brushed elbows with me trying to get their packets of curry, marinated meat and nori. Maybe they sensed the snow blizzard was coming and decided to stock up on supplies while they could. (Snow later blanketed the town 13" deep. I shoveled for one hour, but that's another story.)

Cream Biscuit ingredients: All Trumps (Gold Medal flour), Yeast, Sugar, Butter, Biscuit, Eggs, Custard Cream. I'm not sure why, but I somehow expected the biscuit to taste more like a cream puff. Boy was I wrong -- one bite of the custard cream and I thought I was eating don tat, Chinese egg custard. Good stuff nonetheless. The biscuit was soft and fluffy, and the custard was light, non-oily, with a touch of sweetness.

Flushing, that bustling hearth of Chinese and Korean tasties, is also the purveyor of Koryodang Bakery. You can often find older Korean ahjushiis and ahjumas mixed in with groups of high school students hanging out at Koryodang, all of them chowing down on pastries and coffee or tea. Across the street from Koryodang is its competition, Bakery de Paris, a Korean-owned bakery with a French touch. You've got to try their sweet potato bread, raisin twists and butter cream buns. My grandfather will have seconds of the sweet potato bread, even though he's a diabetic. While Bakery de Paris may be a bit pricier than other bakeries, the quality is well worth it.

One bite of the Cream Biscuit and I'm in egg custard heaven.

Bite-sized morsel of kim bap.

Kim bap is one of my favorite finger-food appetizers. Similar to Japanese tori maki, kim bap is made with sticky rice, crab, nori (seaweed), carrot, daikon (pickled radish), spinach, eggs, rice and sesame seeds.

Don't shrimp on freshness.

The shrimp isn't Korean per se, but it was purchased from H mart. Just pan-fry for a few minutes on both sides, then dip in your preferred cocktail sauce. The outside is crispy and salty, the inside moist and flavorful. The most important thing about picking shrimp is to make sure it's fresh. That's what defines so-so shrimp from spectacular shrimp!