Favorite

Korea, here and there 

A traveler’s notes and words about Sam’s.

SOMETHING'S FISHY:
  • SOMETHING'S FISHY:
I’ve spent the last two weeks in Korea visiting family, checking out the sights, and of course, shopping. With a favorable exchange rate (about 1,113 won to a dollar) and cheap prices, Korea has long been known as a shopper’s paradise. While there are a variety of stores — from Wal-Mart to high-end European designer shops — the street markets are the most interesting. I had the opportunity to visit markets in the country’s three major cities: Seoul, Gwangju and Busan. Each open-air market was a hodgepodge of vendors, from traditional storefronts to tables set up in the middle of the street to items laid out on the sidewalk. Clothing, handbags and shoes were plentiful in Seoul’s Namdaemun market. A word of caution: Because Koreans are for the most part thinner and shorter than Americans, large sizes are hard to find, so be sure to try things on before you buy. (An old flea market trick for finding pants that fit without trying them on: Wrap the waistband around your neck. If it fits comfortably, the pants usually fit around your waist.) I picked up a fox stole for 80,000 won, which is about $72. I also picked up a wool suit for my husband in Gwangju for about $80. The markets are centered on food in Gwangju and Busan. Fresh fruits and vegetables abound, as well as herbs and hot Korean red peppers. You’ll find unprocessed sheets of seaweed, pressed together and dried, still smelling like the ocean. There are boxes of salt-cured and dried seafood, from tiny fishes and shrimp to mussels. Taste-testing is encouraged. If you’re squeamish about where your meat comes from, it’s best to avoid the markets. Giant pigs’ feet and whole heads are on display. Live chickens and ducks sit in cages while all varieties of fresh seafood swim in tanks or lie on beds of ice. You won’t find anything similar here in the sheer range of stuff sold there, but Central Arkansas is home to several Asian groceries, including Sam’s Oriental Store (3704 S. University, 562-2720). Sam’s has been around as long as I can remember — one of my first memories is getting my fingers mashed in the store’s front door. Over the years, the market has expanded its offerings to reflect the growing diversity of Little Rock’s Asian population. Once predominantly Korean and Chinese, Sam’s now carries foodstuffs for Indian, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. For those who’ve adopted a healthier lifestyle, there are bargains. For instance, 32 ounces of soymilk can cost around $3 at health food stores; the same amount is $1.49 at Sam’s. Tofu is 99 cents to $1.39. A 20-ounce container of pine nuts is $17.99. There’s also produce you’re not likely to find at Kroger, such as soybean sprouts, broccoli rabe and fresh bamboo shoots. MSG is sold by the pound and there’s a whole aisle devoted to the many varieties of Ramen, from Cup Noodles to a Korean favorite, chajang myun. In the market for hot drinks? A pound of Jasmine tea is $4.49 and a 15-ounce can of Cafe du Monde coffee is $2.99. Sam’s also carries Asian ceramics, dinnerware and utensils.
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Janie Ginocchio

  • Many shades of green in Pleasant Valley

    In the last two decades, there's been an undercurrent of tension that hums along the western expanse of the Cantrell Road/state Highway 10 area from Interstate 430 to Chenal Parkway.
    • Dec 28, 2011
  • Planned, lakeside living in Lakewood

    I've spent most of my adult life as a vagabond of sorts, living in such diverse areas as New York and Paragould, Ark., and everywhere in between. I recently settled into a two bedroom, two-bath apartment on McCain Boulevard in Lakewood, and I'd be hard-pressed to name a more ideal location in terms of convenience in Central Arkansas.
    • Dec 28, 2011
  • A passion for Argenta

    I’ve lived on West Fifth Street in North Little Rock’s historic Argenta neighborhood since 2002, and I love it with the zealous heart of the converted. After spending my childhood in a drab post-World War II tract home in Southwest Little Rock, my only kn
    • Nov 16, 2006
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Shopping

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: On "Beyond Scared Straight"

    • I need to find a scared straight program for my 14 yr old daughter here…

    • on July 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation