Sunday, October 20, 2013

Holy mackerel, non-GMO tofu and instant noodle soup

I've heard of Spanish mackerel and Atlantic mackerel, but H&Y Marketplace in Ridgefield has a special on wild-caught Norway mackerel.

Jun's Tofu is made from non-GMO soybeans at H&Y Marketplace.

By Victor E. Sasson

Shopping at H&Y Marketplace, a Korean supermarket in Ridgefield, is growing on me, even though it is farther away than H Marts in Little Ferry and Englewood, and smaller than a Super H Mart in the same town.

This H&Y is newer and cleaner than the Bergenfield branch, which has a badly worn floor that is a big turnoff.

And the shopping experience is relaxed, with no crowds to fight and plenty of empty parking spaces in the lot.

On Saturday, my second visit to the Ridgefield H&Y, I enjoyed more free samples, including cooked brown rice wrapped in seaweed and cabbage kimchi; bought natural tofu made in the store, and checked out the grocery aisles.

A big tub of Jun's Wild Sesame Tofu (1 pound, 15 ounces) -- made with non-genetically modified soybeans, black sesame seeds and sea salt -- was $5, and another customer advised me to try it with a little soy sauce. 

Samples were delicious. At home, adding a little gyoza dipping sauce and sesame oil, the tofu had a nutty flavor, and I liked the crunch of the sesame seeds.

A 16-portion box of Shin Ramyun spicy instant noodle soup was on sale for $11.99, as was a half-gallon of Lactaid 1% lactose-free milk for $3.49 or what ShopRite charges for its house brand.

I noticed H&Y carries at least three brands of a Korean staple called gochujang made with sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup, and at better prices than H Mart.

Gochujang is a vinegared, hot red-pepper sauce that can be added to soups and sandwiches, and eaten with barbecued meat and broiled fish.

In the fish department, fresh Norway mackerel was only $1.89 a pound.

At the H Mart in Englewood, a sign advises seafood buyers the store is supplied by the Fulton Fish Market in New York City. Tanks, left, hold live abalone and Dungeness crabs. The crabs were $10.99 a pound.

Wild-caught shrimp from Mexico at the Englewood H Mart.

More seafood

Today, I bought four wild-caught sea bass at the H Mart in Englewood for dinner tonight ($5.49 a pound).

I was tempted by large, wild-caught shrimp from Mexico -- as an alternative to Costco Wholesale's farmed Black Tiger shrimp from Vietnam -- but didn't feel like deveining them.

The live Dungeness crabs in a tank of water also looked good.

For an appetizer, I picked up a Jinga-brand seaweed, rice and vegetable roll called kimbap ($6.49).

A tray of kimbap comes with jalapeƱo peppers and Korean pickles.

H&Y Marketplace, 1 Remsen Place, Ridgefield; 201-943-7400.

H Mart, 25 Lafayette Place, Englewood; 201-871-8822.

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