Sunday, February 21, 2010

H Mart Hon

i have had pretty close to the perfect weekend. friday night we had dinner and played wii golf and baseball with mom and AJ. saturday morning, E and i went to the MAC (E ran, i did power yoga) we went out to lunch together and then took a nap. after our nap, we went to AB and B's house. they planned to take us to H mart and pick up some things for dinner.
AB and B have been talking about H mart for a while now. B has grilled some wonderful beef tenderloin that he bought there. i was prepared for an experience but i didn't really know quite what to expect.
what we discovered was a true feast for the senses. i was overwhelmed the moment i walked in. first of all, the place was packed! B says its crowded day and night. it is a huge asian market packed full of all kinds of ethnic fare (and people too)! the produce section was like nothing i have ever seen. over-flowing bins of everything imaginable including many things i have never seen or heard of.
they have a wonderful sushi section where you can buy pre-made sushi or sushi-grade fish to make your own sashimi. E particularly loved the kimchi section. it took him back to his days in korea and his many nights at the OB steakhouse - an all you can eat/drink beef and beer place. a section was dedicated to ready made korean food. the meat section was crazy. they had everything from chicken and beef to lamb and rabbit to the more exotic frogs legs, duck heads, and other unmentionables.
in the middle were asiles of every kind of ethnic spice imaginable, soups, noodles, rice, vinegars, oil, and at least 100 different varieties of soy sauce. seriously, if you can't find an ingredient needed for a chinese, indian, korean, or thai dish here, it probably doesn't exist.
the seafood section was just as extensive. shrimp, lobster, clams, sardines, salmon, and whole fresh fish i have never heard of. they have a big sign overhead telling you the different ways to order to simplify things. you just tell them, "i want a pound of bluefish #5" and they know to just clean it for you. (i'm sure this helps immensely with the slight language barrier.)

after about an hour of wandering around, B had enough things in his cart for an asian meal for the 4 of us. we headed back to their house, made some drinks and unloaded our goods. 
who's that idiot with the cilantro??
E and AB working on their drinks - and appetites
our first course consisted of seaweed salad, thinly sliced salmon dunked in soy sauce, and crispy bottomed shumai (wasabi pork dumplings).
it was all so good! i could have made a meal out of just those items. but B and i headed back into the kitchen to make seafood miso soup with u-dong noodles.
we made what turned out to be a kick ass miso soup with cod, shrimp, salmon, and clams. the broth was amazing. best miso soup i have ever had and relatively easy to make, i will be making this again (especially since i now know where to get the ingredients).
 cutting the dashi kombu into the broth
dunking the bonito into the broth just to add flavor
crumbling the miso paste into the soup
wonderful looking miso broth
 sauteing the clams
adding the salmon and cod
finally the baby bok choy and the shrimp
dividing up the seafood
 the finished bowl of seafood miso soup with u-dong noodles
the cod all but disintegrated into the broth but i think it made it all the more tasty. we enjoyed some processco with the soup and some muscato afterwards. after dinner, everyone had some amaretto on ice to sip (i sipped E's since i had to drive home:)

it was such a fun evening. we didn't end up leaving until 10:30. we fell into bed and woke this morning ready for our massages at ojas spa in hunt valley. massages are quite possibly E's and my favorite indulgence. ojas is one of the best places i have ever been. it's also a yoga studio. i had 60 minutes of pure bliss that went by too quickly (as always). can't wait for the next time.

i'm off to get my butt to the gym for some cardio before i change my mind and take a nap:)

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