A few weeks ago we visited the Namdaemun market in central Seoul. Accompanied by the friendly and helpful guide, we were able to learn about a lot of new foods, and their standard preparation. One of our favourites is pictured above in the blue bag. Doraji is the root of the bellflower. It's often prepared as a kind of salad and the roots offer a satisfying earthy flavour. Doraji has also inspired a very famous Korean folk song and dance, which apparently originated in North Korea.
On the way home, we stopped at Lotte Mart, to get a sense of how the big supermarket compares to the street market. Pretty much all of the same things were available, and the prices didn't seem too much different. In the end, shopping is shopping - the market is touristy and the super market, isn't really super at all, just indoors & warmer.
Later, we attempted to cook some of our new ingredients, with some success. The Korean 'dates' or jube jubes were quite tasty with sweet potatoes. We've also been cooking a lot with gochu garu, or toasted red chili powder. They add a certain warmth to dishes, without really being too spicy. At Lotte Mart, we found long strips of the chilis and used them in the test kitchen. Their colour balances the look of the dish, and the texture makes for a subltle flavouring.