Today I dropped into Asian Market in Marina on the Monterey Peninsula in need of some Korean ingredients. I found the gochujang and sesame oil I needed and was pleased to have several brands to choose from (not that I had any knowledge of any of them). Surprised that the fresh produce section was nearly bare, but no matter, I could get daikon and fresh chile peppers at Steve's Filipino-Indian grocery store a couple doors away.
The real find here though turned out to be the prepared food on display at the check out counter. Freshly made gimbap rolls, $1.50, marked with the time that they were produced and that they must be sold within two hours and tubs of jap chae, $4. Grabbing a couple of the rolls, I was happy to feel that they were still warm. White rice with a core of fish cake, carrot, yellow pickled radish and cucumber rolled up in dried seaweed, two of these were just right for lunch. The rice was still firmish with individual grain and not much seasoning. I just ate them out of hand, unpeeling the plastic wrap as I went, burrito-style since I was on the run and not able to slice them. The salting of the filling elements was sufficient and I did not miss dipping them in soy sauce. But if given a chance to serve with condiments, I might want something spicy to perk them up a bit. The japchae was pretty good, certainly worth $4, topped with strips of sesame-coated beef, black mushroom, sauteed onion and carrot. In the future, I might think of this as a starting point and use it as a base to add my own ingredients.
3056 Del Monte Blvd #105
Marina, CA 93933