Saturday, November 20, 2010

Special Korean food

NJ - Bergen County - Ridgefield: Super H-Mart ...Image by wallyg via Flickr
The H Mart in Ridgefield is the biggest of four in Bergen County.

The four H Mart supermarkets in Bergen County are a great source of fresh fish and Asian greens, but they also stock some of my favorite prepared Korean dishes.

Three items I buy all the time are stewed tofu and stewed Alaskan pollock, both in a spicy red-pepper sauce, and japchae, translucent noodles with mushrooms, scallions and other vegetables.

What's great about them is a short ingredient list and no preservatives. The tofu, for example, is made with soy sauce, scallion, garlic, red-pepper paste and sesame oil.

Jinga, a company in Maspeth, N.Y., prepares the tofu and fish I bought in the Fort Lee store, though you can find store-made tofu in Little Ferry and Englewood. 

You get a pound of the small tofu slabs for $3.49. The pollock, which comes with onion, carrot and hot, green pepper, is $5.99 for 12 ounces. These chewy chunks of fish include the bone.

Sweet-potato flour is used for the noodles, $4.49 for 14 ounces. They are made by another company, Pinocchio Catering of Little Neck, N.Y.

The noodles are best when they are heated in the microwave, but the tofu and fish can be eaten right out of the fridge.

Here is the H Mart Web site:

Where to find H Mart stores 

2-day sale on Australian beef

ShopRite supermarkets in Rochelle Park, Paramus, Englewood and Hackensack will be selling free-range Australian beef for a low $2.99 a pound with a store card and $10 purchase -- two days only, Nov. 26 and 27. (I gave the wrong sale dates previously.)

The whole beef tenderloin for filet mignon, sold under the Nature's Reserve label, is said to be grass-fed and raised without antibiotics and growth hormones.

When I was eating beef, I would trim this tenderloin, slice it thin and place it in freezer bags with Korean bulgogi marinade.

If we were in the mood for Korean barbecue, we'd grill the beef on top of the stove and wrap it in red-lettuce leaves with spicy bean paste, garlic, scallion salad, kimchi and rice for a fun meal.

Good food close to home

What's for dinner? 

We were out of ideas for a home-cooked meal late Friday afternoon, and weren't in the mood for Chinese takeout, which we had the week before. The Korean tofu restaurant we love is in Palisades Park -- not the end of the world, but I just didn't feel like driving there.

Luckily, we live in Hackensack, less than two miles from Lotus Cafe, our favorite sit-down Chinese restaurant. As we walked toward the door, I noticed a full moon illuminating the parking lot.

Mr. Su, the owner, greeted us warmly, and in a few minutes we were enjoying a great meal:

We started wit won ton soup for my son ($2.10) and creamy tofu-and-spinach soup for me and my wife to share ($4.95).

Our entrees were prawns in chili sauce and fillet of sole in black-bean sauce ($15.95 each). We also enjoyed water spinach sauteed with fresh garlic ($9.95) and three bowls of white rice.

Lotus Cafe has wonderful seafood. The prawns were fresh-tasting and soft, and thick chunks of fish had been breaded and sauteed with carrot, onion and sweet pepper.

Along with our chocolate fortune cookies, the waiter gave us a small plate of canned pineapple and lychee speared with toothpicks.

Lotus Cafe, 450 Hackensack Ave., Hackensack,
in the Pathmark Shopping Center; 
open seven days, free parking, BYO.

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