Thursday, June 3, 2010

Korean Experience

So, after reading TheSeoulSearcher blog I wanted to get some Makgeolli, after work I decide to go to the Korean Neighbourhood here in Mexico City, because I knew I could find some nice Korean stores, when I was finally there I saw this cute little store with the name in Korean so I walk in and the owner is obviously Korean and gave me this weird look that made me nervous, at first I wanted to greet her in Hangul but after that look I knew I didn’t want to say Hello in the wrong name (pft yea insecurity….) so I greet her in Spanish and try to ask for the Korean Rice Wine as slow as I can just so she can understand me, she said she does have it but the start yelling at someone I assumed after a couple of minutes she has to go to the back and get a girl, a Mexican girl so she can make the sale and translate (it’s in those moments when I wish the most to have a Fluent Hangul or at least a descent one…) , note that all this time I was just standing in the store because I didn’t know what to do…. So finally the girl comes out and they start having a loud talk (the Mexican girl and the Owner), the girl comes with a big white bottle of the Makgeolli and I ask if they take cards (yea as always I don’t have cash on me lol) they don’t so I have to go out and look for an ATM….10 min later I go back to the store and now there’s the owner and her son (I think) so I went with the Mexican girl to ask for the bottle of wine and go straight to the owner to pay…. I don’t know why but I kinda felt like I was invading her “space” (or should I say her Store??), I didn’t know if it was a Korean Only Store, everything was in Hangul, even the tv show they were watching, I had never felt like that among Korean people, they are always so warm but this time I felt weird just to be standing there waiting for my change…… perhaps it was awkward because they didn’t speak Spanish and we had no way to communicate (except for the girl)…..
I kept going expecting to find other stores, so I find a 2nd store, this one is smaller than the 1st one and a bit darker, I wanted to go with the Korean lady over the counter but then I saw another Mexican girl making some kind of sushi and decided to go with her since I didn’t want the complication of the language again and also because over the counter there were like 6 other people buying groceries… I couldn’t find what I was looking for in that store and I didn’t ask what that sushi was made of (which I regret now, but I guess I’ll go back one of these days..), I walk out and expect to find this Big Store I saw once a few months ago, I find the “big store” is called SEOUL MARKET and it’s way bigger that the other 2 stores together, actually is like a small Wal Mart, the owner is sitting behind a desk right in front of the doors and again a Mexican guy (yup, this time it was a Guy) comes up and ask me what do I need, I ask again for the Wine (wanted to check prices since the 1st bottle cost $130 Mexican pesos (around $11 USD), he offered Soju but this time I wasn’t looking for Soju (I have 2 bottles at home I got last year at the Fair) so I try to explain this Rice Wine is softer and like white with a “milky” taste (I tried to remember how the SeoulSearched described it lol) and he hands me this bottle that cost only $50 pesos but it wasn’t as pretty as the other one I had already bought… the guy said it was like PULQUE ( wich is a Mexican beverage (I have to say…I had never tried Pulque EVER, my mom and some of my relatives love it….so I thought this Wine would be a nice thing to offer them…) I wanted to see every detail of the store but for some weird reason this guy was following me, don’t know if he was trying to “help” me or just checking I wasn’t going to steal something lol, they had like 50 different kind of noodle soups, vegetables, sauces, kimchi “to go” , I have to say I LOVED that store, it was so BIG and full with all this things I had only see on TV (or internet haha) I decided to get Korean Cabbage to make Kimchi because I had wanted to cook it for quite some time so the guy went to find a small cabbage for me (pft it wasn’t THAT small 2,200Kg  ….) then the owner and older woman asked if I was planning on making Kimchi I said Yes and she started to tell me
What was I missing, chilli powder, radish, garlic, chive, ginger, fish sauce….and on and on… so I got ½ kg of chilli powder because it was the smallest bag (I’m starting to believe this store has EVERYTHING BIG lol) and a HUGE radish, the lady was really nice giving me all her advises, telling me how she used to make Kimchi when she was young and how she’d replace ingredients it made me feel in a warm environment again, probably because she did speak Spanish , I left the market with a big smile on my face and all my heavy vegetables (lol), I have to say I love that neighborhood, and next time I go I’ll ask my Hangul teacher to come with me, that way people won’t stare at me because they don’t understand me hahaha.

I’ll start making the Kimchi and will let you guys know how it went!!!



  1. Haha i just found your blog from my twitter. wow it is very interesting that there is a korean shop selling Makgeolli! awesome !! :)