12 (Mon) October 2020
Mango Pickle Chicken Stir-Fry
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
For the first time since the repatriation, I went grocery shopping in the expat neighborhood of Itaewon. While mainstream grocery stores throughout Korea have high quality products, the selection is severely limited to things that are used primarily in Korean cuisine, maybe some Japanese (e.g., wasabi), American (e.g., ketchup), Italian (e.g., pasta), these days hints of Thai (e.g., chili sauce), Vietnamese (e.g., rice noodles), Mexican (e.g., tortillas).
A lot of the shops that I used to frequent – in fact, a lot restaurants in the area – have gone out of business.
Foreign Food Mart, which has always been one of the better stocked stores, fortunately remains.
A large section of Foreign Food Mart is dedicated to Pinoy items – piles of Magic Sarap, the national MSG! – which suddenly made me well up with homesickness.
The specific objective of the trip was to obtain chick peas and tahini for hummus and polenta for corn cakes, which will soon be featured in future posts on my Newbery project.
Later at home, I was stir-frying chicken thighs with the intent of making something else entirely, when I had the idea of adding a tiny dollop of the mango pickle. The chicken came out very nicely spicy and tangy, further accentuated by chunks of bittersweet mango. Essentially Indian in flavor, though unlike any Indian dish that I’ve experienced.
(For more details re food, see WHAT)
(For more details re venue, see WHERE IN KOREA)