Korean Grocery Store Palooza; just call me Lil Kim Chi

My spoils from the Korean Grocery store. Don’t ask what’s in half of it, because I can’t tell you.

It’s a little known fact that I moonlight as a epicurean explorer. I travel the world over to at least the closest Ralph’s to find the most sinfully delicious foods worth noshing on while wasting away my life in front of my DVR.  This past weekend, I decided to branch out a little further than my typical grocery store and find something a little more exotic. Apparently that Trader Joe only gets you so far in life, until you’re ready to start trading on your own. Don’t ask what possessed me, but last Friday I found myself in the middle of a huge Korean grocery store, drooling over things that I could never expect to properly identify. It may surprise you to find out that I am not fluent in Korean. But does a good explorer let that bother him?! Not any more than several other-enthusiastic, elderly Korean shoppers would. Shoppers who I can only assume were very excited about the price of the odd-shaped melons they were all circled around while yelling frenetically. In fact, they were incredibly motivating, and their zest for quality produce only inspired me to find a slightly more processed/hydrogenated-oil infused version of the same melon (see the Hi-Chew above). If you have never tried a Hi-Chew, you are living a sham of a life. They may kill you if you eat an entire package, but it would be the most delightfully fluffy fruit-chew of a way to die; you would most definitely live on in song and lore as the (wo)man who braved the Hi-Seas, and is now resting in the land of eternal saturated fat.

While I used several of the ingredients pictured above to make a delicious soba noodle miso soup last night (including my powdered instant bonito fish broth!), I’m more concerned with telling you all about my pretty lady Soju bottle (to the far left in the picture above). Soju is the closest things Korean have to vodka… well, except for actual vodka. But Soju is to Koreans what Vodka is to Russians, or Tequila is to our friends south of the border. It’s a fermented mix of rice, corn, and sweet potatoes, depending on what kind you buy. The big difference is that it’s only 20% alcohol by volume. You may think this is an advantage, because you can drink more sweet potato juice and not get sloppy. You are correct. Kind of. The problem with 40 proof is that it sneaks up on you when you mix it with a slurpee from 7-Eleven (the only real way to drink it); there’s no 80 proof burn to distract you from the equally as intoxicating chemical cherry ice flavor that the geniuses at  7-Eleven have perfected. Not to mention there’s a pretty lady on the bottle, coaxing you into having just one more drink. I don’t know what she had to do to get on that bottle, but I’ve decided to call her Ms. Chum-Churum (the brand name of her particular bottle of Soju) and will most definitely be inviting her to the next few weekend parties to which I have RSVPed. I think it’s important that the rest of LA meet her too.

Ciao Bella!

Matteo Yazge

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