Wednesday, November 06, 2019

the Jangbogo Mart reconnoiter

I cabbed over to the Jangbogo Mart right after work, hoping that the mart wouldn't be closed this time. The entrance to the place, hidden inside the dark recesses of a building, had been locked last time, despite there being a light on inside the store. This time, too, the door was locked, but while I was standing outside the door, pondering my options, it suddenly popped open, and a store worker came out. I looked inside and saw the store was brightly lit and in full swing; I asked the staffer about the place's operating hours, and he said the mart was open until 11 p.m., and that I could go on inside.

Once I was inside, I realized that Naver's GPS navigation had led me to the store's back entrance, which is why the door had been locked both times. So this past Sunday, when I first tried to visit the place, the mart probably hadn't been closed. I did a slow tour of the place, walking like a ghost among the aisles, to see whether the legends were true: did Jangbogo Mart actually have any foreign goods? The only foreign thing I found, alas, was cilantro: the place was selling huge, lush bunches of it for only W2000 per bag. If I ever need to make a gallon of chimichurri, I now know where to go to get my cilantro hit.

But there was nothing else. The store sold Korean products in large packages, including some huge, wrapped-up bundles of ground pork (I plan to make my own maple-sage sausages for the Thanksgiving stuffing), but there weren't any whole turkeys, nor was there any ground turkey, which is what I actually need to make my turkey roulade. All in all, then, Jangbogo Mart turned out to be a bust. I'll have to go back to Itaewon's foreign-food markets to see about getting ground turkey, and I may have to hurry up because, with American Thanksgiving coming, all the local Yanks are going to want to buy up anything and everything that's turkey-themed. So many of the foreign-food markets that I used to like are now out of business; everything I like tends to disappear, which imparts something of a tragic undercurrent to my existence here in Seoul.

That said, hope springs eternal. I'll visit Itaewon, and I'll probably have good news to report when I do. No mortal man can keep me from my ground turkey.

1 comment:

John Mac said...

I saw on Facebook that the Canadian restaurant in Itaewon is closing (don't remember the name now). Things are always in transition I suppose, but the base closing seems to have accelerated movement into the next era...