With each new ethnic market in New Jersey I discover on my Flavor Excursion trips, I get more excited about the Jersey food scene. My most recent discovery left my heart pounding, stomach full, kids thrilled and wallet thinner. Welcome to Super H-Mart on Grande Street in Ridgefield NJ, a Korean grocery packed to the gills with unusual, exotic and tasty fare!
You don’t have to be a Korean barbecue fan to love this place— there’s an endless array of delicacies and ingredients which are guaranteed to liven up your home cooking repertoire. And what I may have found exciting on my first trip is just the tip of the iceberg of this culinary gem.
First wander through the vegetable aisles and you’ll see Shanghai scallions, Durian (which I’m afraid to try because of the dirty sock smell rumor), king Oyster mushrooms which look like mushrooms on steroids, dried radish leaves and Chinese chives. Continue meandering through aisles packed with fresh, frozen, dried and canned delights.
There’s a buffet of marinating meats you can bring home to make Korean BBQ, an endless array of kimchee and other pickled vegetables, an assortment of dried squid and fish packaged in fancy gift-like boxes and more dried noodles and frozen dumplings and wrappers I ever could have imagined existed. But my favorite find was the exceptionally thin sliced pork and several kinds of beef that you simply cannot find in any mainstream grocery store. As a frazzled home cook, I’m coming up with some quick cooking ideas with such thin cuts of meat. This store leaves you breathless in anticipation of what to concoct back at home.
Just when I thought my culinary field trip was over and I had checked out with several bags, I was lured across the hall by a woman offering me tastes of three just out-of -the-oven Korean breads: a Green ea bread, a sweet bread stuffed with a creamy yogurt and a sugared walnut bread. One word—Wow! Okay, two more—sinfully good. I paid a mere $10 for three hearty loaves and left wondering when and who I’d bring back to the Super H-Mart.
And back at the ranch? Well, we made some Korean BBQ with a jarred sauce which left our tongues stinging, a batch of our own homemade Korean BBQ which was more pleasing to the palate and the highlight for the kids… (Drum roll please!)… Ramen Noodle Soup!
Quick Korean BBQ Marinade
Double or triple the ratio of these ingredients to make more marinade depending upon the amount of meat you use. Simply combine the ingredients and let soak with your thinly sliced meat. If you like it sweeter, just add more sugar. You can also use sesame oil instead of sesame seeds.
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds