when i’m super bored i tend to have imaginary conversations with myself.  or rather a conversation with an imaginary self.  dealer’s choice.  😛  on one of those occasions, i imagined someone asking me this question:

“gee, p00lriah, what do you eat?  and where do you get what you eat?”

and i imagined answering: “well, i eat alot of different stuff, and i shop at different markets and places.  however, one of these places is a korean market called arirang.  you should check it out.”  whoever the “you” is.

if you’re a piggie like me with an adventurous palate and a luscious round belly, you go to the different ethnic markets that socal has to offer–the indian bazaars, the mexican mercados, and various other ethnic fares.  this particular korean market, arirang (or ar market), was introduced to me by my korean friends.  now socal has a myriad of korean markets; what makes this one special is that for an extremely popular market, they only have one location in the greater los angeles area–in the city of garden grove.  (garden grove is well-known by locals for its korean district with numerous korean shops and restaurants.)  if my information is correct, koreans in los angeles will trek down to garden grove just to go to arirang.  (the drive from l.a. to garden grove is roughly 45 minutes to up to two hours depending on traffic; the average is around one to 1.5 hours one way.)  koreans aren’t the only ones that frequent this market; chinese, vietnamese, mexicans, and caucasians routinely shop here as well.  if you’re a business owner, you know you’re doing something right when your clientele isn’t a monolithic wall of the same color.  after my first visit, i was hooked.  now ar market is one of my regular weekly stops for grocery.  i think there are arirang markets in other states, but i cannot say if they are owned by the same folks that run the garden grove outfit.  anyhoo, i thought i’d do a very brief walkthrough, photo-essay style.  beeeaa~*.

here’s the entrance to the ar market.  don’t look much, don’t it?  you’d be wrong.

ar’s selection of bbq meats, or bulgogi if my korean is accurate (most times it isn’t).  ar market makes their own marinades for the bulgogi.  don’t let these nondescript meats fool you.  if my information is correct, these meats are a huge reason why koreans from as far as l.a. drive down to ar.  i routinely see people buy five pounds of these marinaded meats like it’s water.  for those that love a good bbq but are too lazy to do the prep, buy a few pounds of these babies and go to town; just make sure you don’t turn the delicious beef into cardboard.  (turning delicious beef into cardboard is a crime punishable in all 50 states.)  i can say from experience that the bulgogi here are f~*ing tasty.  and i mean F~*ING tasty.  the management put numbers on the display so you can order by numbers.

a closer look at the happy meats in various yummy marinades.

green onions on display.  the vertical one illustrates what a bunch looks like; it contains roughly four stalks of green onions.  don’t let the regular prices fool you; when these go on sale, you can buy 10 bunches for $1!  if you use green onions a lot, stock up when they go on sale.  you can’t find them cheaper than a dollar, and ar tends to have a green onion sale every week.

veggies?  did you want veggies?  some very fresh veggies just for you.

next to the delicious selection of bulgogi, arirang is also known for their kimchi made in-house.  (they also sell other brands, including ones imported from south korea.)  i’ve eaten kimchi made by other markets, and they usually tastes crappy.  the ones made by ar, however, are just delicious.  if you don’t like msg, ar offers no-msg varieties, also made in-house.

having tried various types of kimchi recommended by my korean friends, this is by far my favorite–the radish leaf kimchi (muchung kimchi in korean, i think).  it’s somewhat bitter (from the radish leaves), salty, slightly sour, and a touch spicy.  personally i wish ar would make this super spicy, but it still tastes good.  thanks to this kimchi, i finally have an excuse to buy a big bag of rice.  why?  because kimchi and spaghetti just sounds so wrong.

a closer look of the radish leaf kimchi from the side.

if ar’s stock is an indication, you’d think koreans are obsessed with instant ramen.  they’re not, but ar decided to carry a huge selection of instant ramen anyway.  the ones in the pic are just a small portion of what they actually carry.  there were stacks of instant ramen behind me when i took this picture.

finished with that chronic and got them munchies, but you’re sick of doritos?  fret not, my wasted friend.  with a little experimentation & exploration, you’ll soon find cheap and delicious snacks here.  priced to move!

shrimp chips are as common for koreans and japanese as doritos are for us in the usa.

and finally, this isle offers the correct armament to properly get sloshed, korean style.  a decent-sized bottle of rice or barley liquor can be had for $2 + tax.  soju, i believe they’re called.

that’s the little tour of my favorite korean market.  a round of thanks to all my korean friends.  next time, i’ll drag out my chinese friends to explore a chinese market.  wait, omg already did that.  never mind.

5 comments on “foodyssey

  1. It’s interesting that Korean markets are different from Japanese markets or Chinese markets. Yes you can generalize them and call it an Asian supermarket, but a Korean market will probably not have all the sauces and the usual brands that a Chinese shopper would want and vice versa. I love Bulgogi – that’s one of my favorite Korean dishes. $5.99 a pound for Bulgogi is a great price, ours is $6.99 a pound here. Yummy.

    • yeah you’re right. if i need a japanese ingredient i’ll go to a japanese market; typically you get more selections of that ingredient.

      there’s a bulgogi at ar market that’s not in the picture. it’s more expensive than the others, but it’s hands down the best tasting one at ar. that’s saying a lot when it’s the best of ar, b/c they’re famous for their bulgogi. honestly though, it’s tough to compare prices between different states; i’d imagine there are many more korean markets in l.a. than around the boston area. glad u enjoyed the post!

  2. Omg….I almost died when I saw all that kim chee! YUM! YUM! YUM! I cannot find a good brand here for the life of me 😦 And good call on the rice with it vs. the spaghetti. 😉

    • i’m really lucky to be in the city where lots of koreans live. the ar kimchi is really delicious. glad u liked my kimchi & spaghetti quip!

    • oh, my korean friends told me that the chongga brand (not sure about spelling) is a decent brand. it’s imported from korea so it costs more, but i hear it’s pretty tasty. try it if u find it.

Comments are closed.