This week on "Kingdom Koreatown," my mother and I give you a tour of Hankook Market. A couple weeks ago we went to Kyo Po Market. Both Korean grocery stores are recommended for different reasons. Depending on what product you're looking for, you would go to either. Some Korean restaurants shop at all the Korean markets for a particular ingredient.
The banchan (Korean side dishes) are set up in a very inviting manner. Near the fresh produce and mini food court, a wide range of seasoned vegetables and marinated meats are divided into a couple stations. I like to refer to the longest station as the "Side Dish Palace." What a pleasure for the eye to observe!
I advise shopping towards the noon and later in the day. Early in the day, side dishes are still being prepared. When my mother and I strolled in around 10:30am, several containers were empty. But don't come too late in the day either. They'll be gone, digesting in the people who beat you to them.
Can't wait to go home and eat your colorful side dishes? Head on over to the HK Super Deli, a small food shop at the back. They sell some of the tastiest Kimbap I've ever eaten! You don't have to be in Korea to have legitimately delicious Korean food. It's not about where it's made; it's about who made it.
Take the Kimbap rolls to-go or have a seat in the dining area. Take a look at the menu. The classic Korean dishes, including Bibimbap and Nengmyeon, are so affordable. All under $10 USD!
Considering how tasty the Korean rolls are, I'm excited to try the Bindaetteok (mung bean pancake) on our next visit! Sure, we could've ordered every single item just for the sake of trying, but these foods wouldn't taste as yummy if taken to-go. Kimbap can maintain its flavor and structure, but fried food, not as much.
My mother orders a bowl of Udon and two rolls of Kimbap. Don't forget to ask for a smaller bowl if you plan on sharing.
The Napa Cabbage Kimchi that comes with the noodles ranks on the top ten kimchi I've tried in Northern California. Slightly fermented. Made with love and care like the kimbap. You can taste it.
The Udon is simple and clean. The star ingredient I say is the spongy fried tofu. What a delight whenever you bite into a piece.
Of the items we tried, the Kimbap still outshines them all. Each slice is bigger than your average kimbap. But you won't mind having fat cheeks while chewing on them. Their taste is worth looking chubby!
Need a generous jar of kimchi? Rice cakes? There's no shortage. Native Koreans and foreigners alike can depend on Hankook Market. Ah yes, if you're not Korean, don't be shy. You'll be welcome here. During my visit I saw Chinese and Middle Eastern families as well. After all, this is America.
1092 E El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087