Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"Mrs. Pyke Eats Korea" Woo-Ri Market

by Pamela Pyke
published in the Chosun Taekwondo Academy November 2015 e-newsletter

206 Pegasus Ave.
Northvale, NJ 07647
Open 7 Days    8-9pm

     Just a fifty minute drive from Warwick, NY is the absolutely fabulous Woo-Ri Market. This is where I shop for all of my Asian Cooking needs. From Kimchi, fresh fish, produce and meat. This is a Korean foodies dream come true.

     When you enter, grab your shopping cart and head to the right. You will find a traditional yet modern Korean Bakery. Beautiful pastries, bread, and cakes in a European style yet so Korean. Eating Asian style baked goods, you experience a more delicate and sweeter taste compared to traditional western items. Yummy custards are stuffed into all different shapes and size of pastries. You must try the Korean style Pullman Loaf. It makes the most amazing toast. It’s Wonder Bread that looks like a work of art.   Across from the bakery is a really nice sushi bar if you are in the mood. I usually am!
     Continue walking and you will see a Korean hot food to go counter on the left. Unfortunately it has never opened. There are photos of all of the great Korean dishes, similar to a Chinese restaurant.  I have yet to see anyone operating it and on my last visit they were stacking cases of water along the front of it.
     On the right is the Mandu House.  Mandu are Korean dumplings.  They are amazing. Usually a choice of Kimchi or pork filling. Grab an order on your way out and enjoy them greedily while hot in your car!
     Bon Chon Chicken is next. Korean fast food at its finest. Deep fried and smothered in a hot pepper paste.  Super gooey and very spicy.  KFC on steroids. Must be consumed with beer.
     At the end of this aisle we arrive at Ban Chan and Kimchi heaven. Every Ban Chan is fully prepared to take home and serve with your main course. Ban Chan are the small side dishes that come with a main entrée; Jap Chae, Korean Potato salad, Sautéed Greens, Acorn Jelly, Sautéed Bean Sprouts, and of course something pickled.   The Kimchi counter sells many types of Kimchi.  Water Kimchi, Radish Kimchi, Cucumber Kimchi, and good old Napa Cabbage Kimchi.  You can buy it by the pound or take home a gallon bucket.
    Now we enter a beautiful produce section. Here you can buy large bags of soy bean sprouts for traditional Korean Hangover Soup; Kong Na Mul Gook. The Mushroom section is a dream, Enoki’s Shitake’s and the giant King Mushroom. Giant Kings are the Filet Mignon of the mushroom world.  They are a perfect vegetarian option when grilled.  My favorite item is fresh Ginseng.  This is a must for Ginseng Chicken Soup, Samgyetang.
I am not sure what I love best; the fish department or the meat department.  The Meat Department sells only meat but it is prepared to be cooked for Korean barbeque. The Beef is pre- sliced for Galbi and Bulgogi. The Pork Belly is ready for Bosam or sliced thin for Samgyeopsal. This is amazingly convenient but worth the premium price.
 The Fish Market is as expected, clean and bountiful.  If it isn’t alive in a tank or spitting at you (Conch), it won’t be sold. Only the freshest fish is acceptable. I love that you can bag you own shrimp, clams and Octopus.  You can buy Sushi grade salmon and ahi and many types of roe. 
     In the center of the store is the packaged grocery items. Great deals on Vinegar, Soy sauce and sesame oil. Aisles with a huge variety of seaweed or just ramen noodles. This is where I stock up on sesame seeds and my half gallon tin of sesame oil. Great prices on nori sheets and onigiri. Also, you know the little seasoned toasted nori rectangles you buy at ShopRite for a dollar per package? You can get these here in bulk (12-24 pack) at an amazing savings.
The frozen food area is filled with every kind of dumpling and shu mai imaginable. Here’s where you will find fish cakes; Eomuk.  I love Eomuk.  It is a processed food made from ground fish, squid or shrimp. You can add it to soups or serve with spicy rice cakes (Tteokbokki).
     Check out the Home Goods Department next.  Here’s where you can get your own table top grill for making Korean Barbeque. You can also find the beautiful brown glazed earthenware pots called Ttukbaegi. Perfect for making steamed eggs or soup.
Before you check out; there are fresh rice cakes near the registers.  This is a dessert for a traditional Korean meal or served with tea. Beautifully made and so delicious.  They are soft and chewy. Some are sweeter than others. I try a different one each time.
On the way out there is an area with Korean cosmetics, women’s clothing and jewelry.  Also fresh flowers.
     If you decide to come down to Woo-Ri for a great shopping experience, have an idea in mind about what you want to make.  Bring a list. It can be a little overwhelming at first. More and more items have English labels, but many do not.  As in most Asian Markets, you should wear a Jacket.  They are almost never heated.  It’s freezing.

Just a quick tip….I found another web site that I love.  trifood.com  This site is about educating people about Korean food.  Check it out.    
Haengbog  Meogneum

Pamela Pyke

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