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Snacking Out on a Lobster – Monday Market

Posted in Food and Drink, Monday Market (Theme), seafood by 노강호 on February 29, 2012

so delicious

Recently, there seems to have been a glut of both lobster and the most enormous ‘banana prawns’  in my market and the local supermarket. Indeed, I’ve eaten more lobster in the last week than I’ve probably eaten in my entire life. They weren’t necessarily the biggest lobsters you could buy but to do that I’d have to take home a living one and despite my fondness for their flesh, I’m not sure if I’d be capable of committing one to a cauldron of boiling water.

As for the prawns – I’ve never seen banana prawns in the UK. First they are big, in some cases close to six inches in length, head to tail and discounting their antennae and second, lovely and plump.  I’m not sure if their name is derived from their size, or their slightly yellowy-pink colour. One evening, I treated myself to both a lobster and banana prawns, serving them with a salad. I couldn’t resist the purchase as they were reduced to 6000W (£3) but usually the price for a single lobster or around 15 prawns varies between this and 10000W (£5).

When I was considering the extravagance of a lobster and prawn dinner, and being dissuaded, I had to remind myself  how much that is in the UK, a piddly £6! And I had to remind myself that while I can buy a bag of prawns for around the same price back home, they are always the little things, probably caught off the coast of Scotland, shipped to China for processing, and then stored in a refrigerator warehouse for 2 years. Half their weight is glaceed water and they are totally tasteless. I think many British people have completely forgotten the taste of an unadulterated, fresh prawn just as much as they forgotten about pork or bacon that doesn’t piss a puddle of  water into the pan when you try to fry it! This week, I’ve eaten five lobsters and two were just for a snack!

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Lion’s Mane Mushroom – Monday Market (노루궁뎅이 버섯)

Posted in Food and Drink, Monday Market (Theme), plants and trees by 노강호 on February 29, 2012

the impressive Lion's Mane Mushroom - aka Pom Pom Mushroom

The strange shape of this mushroom, which I’ve only seen once, immediately attracted my attention though the ones I bought are nothing as spectacular as ones that can be found in the wild. The Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus, is also known as the Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom and the Pom Pom Mushroom. In the more spectacular examples, ‘pom pom, is an apt comparison.


The size of this mushroom varies from that of a golf ball to not much less than a regular football and its natural habitat is on the side of trees. The mushroom is particularly prized when small as it has a seafood texture and taste and is sometimes compared with lobster. The mushroom has a long history of medicinal use in the Orient and is currently of interest in the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

and watery

I had no idea what to expect or the best way to cook them so I simply fried slices in sesame oil. I was surprised by their weight as they are are heavier than they look and neither are they solid having substantial ‘air pockets’ inside. Indeed, in terms of cutting and feel, they are both spongy and watery. I didn’t find their taste particularly memorable though they were extremely succulent but because this was a first experience, I didn’t what to expect. Now I know a little about them, I’d like to try them again. However, currently, they are more expensive than lobster. Two, each between the size of a golf ball and tennis ball, cost 2700W (about £1.50); my last lobster cost 6500W (£3.25).

Here is a Youtube video by Don King,  a mushroom hunter…

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©努江虎 – 노강호 2012  Creative Commons Licence.

Monday Market – Persimmons (연시 – 홍시)

Posted in Food and Drink, fruit, Monday Market (Theme), seasons by 노강호 on November 16, 2011

'yeon-shi,' one of my favourite autumn fruits

I’ve written several times about the persimmon which in Korea, like the octopus, has three different names depending characteristics. For some reason ‘3’ always seems to be associated with food though I’m sure it’s coincidence. You’re supposed to wash cabbages three times after salting and I was taught to rinse rice three times before cooking. I took this photo a month ago as the first flush of soft persimmon, known as ‘yeson-shi’, appeared in the market. I love this type of persimmon and several years ago built a stock-pile in my freezer which lasted into mid spring. Actually, I ended up so tired of them I hardly bought any the following year.  Now I want to eat them but unfortunately am restricted by my diet. However, I couldn’t resist buying some just to photograph. The first flush of yeon-shi are particularity delicate and beautiful but their colour quickly changes as autumn progresses.

very similar to the slightly larger and more heart-shaped 'hong-shi.'

persimmons hanging on local trees

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Related articles

The Intricacies of Persimmon (Bathhouse Ballads Nov 2010)

Interlude – Soft Persimmons (Bathhouse Ballads Oct 2010)

They mystery of the persimmons (militaryzerowaste.wordpress.com)

Monday Market – Dried Chillies

Posted in Food and Drink, Monday Market (Theme) by 노강호 on October 31, 2011

red chillies being dried

Every autumn I intend buying a large bag of dried chillies and eventually, this year, I did. With a sweet aroma, rather like cherry tomatoes, they smell wonderful but ground, the powder is far hotter than that I usually buy in the supermarket. I suspect this is because I procrastinated buying a bag, as they are usually sold in large plastic sacks, and waited until the very end of the season. The bag I bought was about a quarter of the usual size and the chillies slightly smaller and perhaps more potent. They cost 20.000 won (c£10).

my end of season bag

Of course, the drawback is you need to grind them and I suspect you are supposed to de-stalk them prior to this process. Being lazy, I haven’t bothered with this and simply grind whole chillies complete with their little green appendage. Koreans eat chilli leaves so I see no point in removing stalks.

seriously big bags of red chili

I have had to seriously curtail the amount of powder I use in kimchi and my most recent batch, made this weekend and which consisted of about 1.2kg of salted cabbage, used only 1/3 of a cup of ground chili. In the past I have used as much as two cups of powder for this process. My Koreans friends found 2/3 of a cup too spicy. I was going to buy another bag, a large one, to last me the year but it seems the dried chili season is over. Buy the time I’ve used my current supply I’d imagine the novelty of dried whole chillies, something you never see in the UK, will be over and like most of my female friends, I’ll return to the convenience of packeted supermarket chili flakes.

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Snapping off in Seomun Market (서문시장)

Posted in Monday Market (Theme), Photo diary, Quintesentially Korean by 노강호 on May 7, 2011

It was Children’s Day and downtown would have simply been too crowded so I headed off to Daegu’s largest market, Seo -Mun (West Gate). It is enormous! The photos are dated April but were in fact taken on May 5th.

Ajummas eating lunch among dried fish

I found these extremely entertaining. Try explaining ‘tacky’ to a Korean!

an array of Kettles

Dried fish and ‘kim’ (김) – dried and toasted seaweed sheets

One of the alleys on the periphery of the market

a store owner who insisted on being photographed. The sheets of seaweed in the background are seen as beneficial for pregnant women.

a box of cinammon

dried ray fish

dried octopus

bags of bar snacks

rice cake

rice cake

and more rice cake…

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Monday Market – Spicy Crab (양념게장)

Posted in fish, Food and Drink, Monday Market (Theme) by 노강호 on May 3, 2011

Yang-nyeom gejang  (양념게장), is basically raw crab marinated in a chilli condiment. There are many regional variations of this side dish (반찬) and though the most common crab used is the horseshoe crab (꽃게), others, including freshwater crabs, are utilized. Yang-nyeom (양념) is a spicy sauce which is very common on fried chicken.  Another version, kan-jang gejang (간장게장), marinates the crabs in soy sauce.

sweet and spicy

The sauce is sweet and spicy and the soft flesh of the crab is sucked out of the cut portions. I didn’t really like this the first few times I encountered it but it has an appeal and like many Korean foods, gradually grows on you.

well – at least it’s not alive!

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Monday Market – Mackerel Pike (꽁치)

Posted in fish, Food and Drink, Monday Market (Theme) by 노강호 on April 27, 2011

One of my favourite barbecued or grilled fish which often appears as a side dish, the mackerel pike, often called saury, is a long, thin fish with a  distinct ‘snout.’ It is an oily fish and is usually grilled whole without being gutted. When eating it however, avoid the gut as it is horribly bitter. Rather like mackerel in taste and texture.

the gong-chi (꽁치)


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Monday Market – A Mixed Bag of Seasonal Interests

Posted in Monday Market (Theme) by 노강호 on April 7, 2011

For the last month I’ve been waiting for the appearance of mistletoe and durup in the street markets. Durup (두룹), aralia elatia can sometimes be found in places like E-Mart but it is usually on the expensive side if out of season. Mistletoe (겨우사리), viscum album coloratum, is something I’ve never seen in supermarkets, not even in tea bag form and many Koreans don’t even know what it is.

fresh mistletoe – 10.000 won (five pounds UK) which I’m told is a little expensive.

I’ve had a bag of mistletoe (dried branches and leaves) in my fridge for the last year and used it regularly during the summer when made as a tea, and chilled, it is wonderfully refreshing. Last year’s bag I purchased in May and it was already dried. Yesterday however, I saw the first bags of mistletoe and they were fresh so this morning I boiled the last of my old batch and will try the new ones in a few days. After which I will simply lay them on newspaper on my veranda and dry them out for the forth coming year.

Warning – there are many varieties of mistletoe and I’ve read the berries, possibly in European varieties if not further afield, are poisonous.  Apparently, ewes abort their young if they graze on fallen mistletoe! If you are a reader outside Korea I would be very cautious about making tea out of the next batch you see.

durup (두룹) aralia elatia

Durup, for which I can find no common English name, costs between 3000-5000W (£1.50 – £2.50) a bowl and is surprisingly tasty with a mildly nutty taste. I generally blanch them and eat them with red pepper sauce (초고추장), which can be bought ready made like tomato sauce, or with swirled in sesame oil, minced garlic and sesame seeds with a little soy sauce. I use them as a side dish. They can also be used in kimbap and pancakes but I have not tried such variations. I would imagine there are numerous other ways of using them.

a street vendor selling durup

Durup and Misteltoe will appear in street markets until about mid May after which they are difficult to find though I would imagine large markets will have dried mistletoe all year. Both are worth trying.

Don’t forget that mugwort (쑥 – sook), artemesia asiatica and mong-gae (멍개), ‘sea squirt,’ are also currently prolific.

mong-gae, or sea squirt (멍개), a delight of the deep?

For my previous posts on posts on these seasonal items, click:





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Mistletoe Magic (Telegraph Newspaper. UK.  Dec. 2010)

Peaches – Monday market

Posted in Food and Drink, fruit, Monday Market (Theme), seasons by 노강호 on August 6, 2010

Looking at the Peaches

Koreans have this habit of eating fruit that I wouldn’t classify as ripe. Of course, it’s cultural but when I bought a ‘box’ of delicious looking peaches I discovered they were like cricket balls – hard! They do the same with persimmon. Yea, I should have poked them before purchase but didn’t. I like peaches soft and juicy. Currently, they’re sitting in my fridge in the hope they might ripen. Putting them on the window ledge is out of the question as it will attracts those annoying little ‘day flies’ which prevent you leaving any fruit or vegetable peelings in the bin for more than a couple of hours. White peaches are really delicious but I haven’t seen any this year and they are always more expensive.

The tomatoes are even bigger than a few weeks ago and are now bigger than the first of the green apples – perhaps it’s because of all the rain.

Massive tomatoes

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© Nick Elwood 2010. This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

Monster Prawns – Monday Market

Posted in fish, Food and Drink, Monday Market (Theme) by 노강호 on July 20, 2010

Despite being inland, Daegu markets provide a tantalizing array of seafood. Cutlass fish is very popular (갈치) though it’s not one of my favourites as I don’t like fish that contain many small bones.

Cutlass Fish (갈지)

Prawns can be mammoth in size and these ones, not including the antennae, were about 7 inches long. The cost  was just over 4000W (£2).

Prawns on a dinner size plate and about 7 inches long. The cost for 5 was just over 4000W (£2).

A succulent snack

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© Nick Elwood 2010 This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.