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The C-Store Goes To K-Town

May 25, 2017

There are two kinds of people in this world. One kind loves Trader Joe’s. The other kind doesn’t get what all the fuss is about.

Trader Joe’s detractors don’t see this beloved market as an actual grocery store. I overheard some HWFC staffers complaining that the place sells nothing but convenience food. This, by the way, is a widely echoed misconception. Trader Joe’s is typically where I buy my eggplants and organic green peppers to supplement what I get from the CSA. It’s where I get bananas for the kids, frozen vegetables to get us through winter, and surprisingly tender 100% whole grain pasta.

Of course TJs does indeed have convenience foods. Lots of them. And while many of them look tempting, not all of them are great. The trick is in finding the ones you love. And over time I’ve honed that list down, and now very rarely veer from my favorites. What I find interesting is how everyone who loves TJs has a list like this, but at the same time everyone’s list is different.

Anyhow, just this week I made a new discovery.

Korean Scallion Pancakes. They’ve been around since February, but somehow I just didn’t really see them in the freezer section until May. This is what happens when you go shopping with a list.

Well, that and the rest of the family isn’t crazy about Korean food. Mrs. Fussy hates cabbage and especially kimchi. And when it comes to scallion pancakes, Little Miss Fussy can’t abide by anything other than the chinese version of the dish. Young Master Fussy really resists trying new things, and isn’t that interested in food in general.

But I keep a big old jar of kimchi in the refrigerator. And while I’ll occasionally snack on it, usually it’s there so I can bang out a dish of kimchi fried rice. However, it’s a dish I only make when Mrs. Fussy is out of the house, on account of the smell.

When I saw the pa jeon in the freezer at TJs, it occurred to me that these might be a way of turning a bowl of kimchi from a light snack into a light meal. Because a while a cold bowl of pickled cabbage is tasty, it’s a lot more satisfying when paired with a hot and crisp scallion pancake filled with shredded vegetables.

Well, I made one. And now I’m hooked.

It was super easy. Just threw a little peanut oil in a cast iron skillet, heated it up, and tossed the frozen round in the pan. While it was working, I did some minor kitchen tasks, like unload the dishwasher. There was a flip. And after a few minutes it was done.

One thing I really appreciate about this product is that it’s actually made in South Korea. It says so right on the package. I can’t tell you how hard it is to find Korean food that’s not made in China

I also really like that these are small. Each pancake is only 100g and contains onions, leeks, carrots, scallions, and king oyster mushrooms. I’m told it’s good to eat more vegetables. Plus a pack of four was less than four bucks.

And because these come in a resealable freezer bag, I can take one out periodically, and treat myself to a delightful combination of cold bracing kimchi, and a hot crisp comforting pa jeon.

Is it convenience food? You bet. But it’s not frozen pizza or a microwave burrito. Those are gross. They are also pointless. However, that’s a story for another day.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. KingOfBeacon permalink
    May 25, 2017 10:35 am

    These have been around far longer than February. I’ve been getting them for years. Try heating them in a little coconut oil instead.

  2. Gabby permalink
    May 26, 2017 1:43 pm

    Kim’s on Central Ave. has lots of Korean food not made in China, and really nice fresh vegetables.

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