Monday, October 10, 2016


Sunday afternoon, I skipped out on a walk with Charles and his wife (my toe is still convalescing; it spent two days mummy-wrapped in a bandage), but I did take a quick trip downtown to try my luck, once again, at Haddon Supermarket, the market I'd failed to reach twice before. The short uphill walk to the market from Oksu Station is just strenuous enough to get me sweating slightly in the now-cooler weather. Third time's a charm, though: I reached the store's entrance and saw the store was open.

Haddon Supermarket has the typically ratty/shady look of Korean markets that purvey Western products, like Hannam Market (which may be defunct at this point). A quiet, friendly puffball of a Pomeranian greeted me when I stepped into the store's ramp-like entrance, a sort of downward-slanted, products-filled hallway that led down into the main part of the market. Once past the dog and the cash registers, I noticed a few things at once: first, the place was very quiet, and there was only one other customer; second, many of the shelves were bare, which gave the market a distinctly Eastern European feel; third, the prices for Western products—when they were visible—were as jacked-up as those at Hannam Market. I could easily spend $90 buying only a few items. Tiny packages of deli-quality salami cost W12,000, a price that's comparable to prices in Itaewon.

I noticed, though, that Haddon had a decent supply of vegetables, including faves like cilantro (labeled as coriander) and parsley. I even saw fennel on one of the shelves. The veggies all looked fresh, too, even though the market had an abandoned feel to it. Perhaps the place gets more business during the week. I don't see how, though: Haddon closes at 7PM every day of the week. Those are Swiss working hours, and for those of us who don't leave work until very late, it's impossible to shop at Haddon except on weekends.

Although I ended up buying some random items, I was at Haddon mainly to do a reconnoiter. The store has an oversupply of huge Butterball turkeys, none of which can fit into my small oven. It lacks the sort of American junk meats I've been craving—things like bologna and hard salami and American breakfast sausage (the store sold wimpy little links, but no Bob Evans or Jimmy Dean). It has plenty of esoteric, expensive deli meats like prosciutto and salami-style chorizo; the variety of cheeses is rather disappointing. I saw pepperoni sausage near the cashier's spot, which was intriguing (didn't buy any). As with High Street Market and Hannam Market, there were plenty of Korean products also on offer, but at inflated prices. Bottles of Planter's honey-roasted peanuts were on sale for W12,000, or a little over $10, US. Ugh.

Now that I know the store does actually open for business, I'll be back to shop, mainly for hard-to-find vegetables. One of the things I bought Sunday was a can of coconut milk so I could make Thai peanut sauce for chicken satay. That lone can set me back W4,300. Ouch. Coconut milk is like gold, baby. Anyway, it's nice to know Haddon is there; I wish the store had a wider selection of foreign items, but it has some of what I routinely need, which I suppose is good enough.

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