Friday, May 26, 2006 9 No tags Permalink 0

My mom and I cannot help but turn into the Palama Market near Waikiki whenever we’re in the neighborhood. It’s a well stocked Korean supermarket with an adjacent food court. This inappropriately titled “food court” has only one restaurant and a drink/dessert shop. But it’s one good restaurant, so we’ll forgive the deceiving title.

It was only 3 in the afternoon, past lunch but not quite dinner so we split an order of the Yook Gae Jang, a spicy beef and vegetable soup. The picture doesn’t reveal much, but dig in with a pair of chopsticks and you’ll pull up hot pieces of tender shredded beef along with chewy glass noodles, seaweed, beaten eggs and a welcomed mass of green onions. The kimchee based spiciness was just appropriate, enough to clear up those sinuses but not so hot to leave you in burning pain. A very filling and hearty soup, we polished it off clean. My mom declared, “Oh, so good!”

The order also came with two mighty scoops of rice, a container of kimchee and “today’s” veggies which included marinated tofu, bean sprouts and watercress. This is a lot of food for only $6! Of all the Korean plate lunch kine places, I feel that the Palama Food Court (yes, that’s the name of the restaurant!) serves the most authentic food. No other quick/takeout places also carry such a wide variety of kim bap (korean sushi) and cold noodles.

The side of the market is lined with individual storekeepers selling everything from housewares to mysterious Asian medicines. I usually breeze pass them, but today one guy caught my attention by handing over a free sample. I LOVE free samples. It’s was a tiny cup filled with a thick muddy green colored liquid.

I eagerly took a sip, as I’ve come to learn though experience, the stranger a drink looks the better it’s bound to taste. Hence my love for durian, mung bean and avocado milkshakes. The drink instantly reminded me of kinako, a nutty soy flour often used in mochi recipes. It had a slightly honey undertone but I wouldn’t call it a sweet drink. More like a very thick kinanko-ey soy milk. The eager Korean storekeeper was pleased with my instant smile of satisfaction as I happily gulped it down. He burst into well practiced speech of the ingredients, “Barley, corn, african millet, kale, banana, pinenut lotus flower seeds, chestnut, spinach, carrot, cabbage, jobs tears, yam…” It seemed to go on forever – what didn’t this concoction contain? They take an equal mixture of everything in the containers above and grind it into a fine powder.

I bought a one pound bag of the Joeun Sunseek. Apparently it’s a newly imported food product from Korea and this storekeeper is Hawaii’s sole distributor. It’s quite easy to make at home. Just mix 2 tbsp with 200 ml of water and add a spoonful of honey to sweeten it just a tad. Served hot or cold, it may look a little funky, though drink it anyways cause it’s reeeeally healthy. But more importantly, it’s so damn delicious!

Palama Super Market
1670 Makaloa
Honolulu, HI 9814
(808) 447-7705

9 Comments
  • anonymous
    May 27, 2006

    Kathy,I don’t get this obsession that Asians have with mixing up different grains and nuts and grinding the bejesus out of them. Is it because the normal diet doesn’t have alot of fiber? I think its for the extremely health conscious. I still have a bag of ground mung bean drink somewhere.

  • anonymous
    May 27, 2006

    Hi Kathy – I left the Islands so long ago; that this location was still Gas n’ Glow! Boy, am I missing out.

  • Kathy YL Chan
    May 27, 2006

    Hey Jeffery!Never thought of it that way, but now you mention it, the fiber conclusion does make sense. For the health conscious or not, I still like the taste of these type of drinks :)Hey Kirk!I don’t even remember a Gas n’ Glow there – it’s time you came back for a visit!

  • anonymous
    May 30, 2006

    korean food..yummmmim gonna need some of that, or some sullung tang (korean beef stew) after lots and lots of drinks! hahathe sunseek doesn’t taste all that great. i’ve been having a glass a morning the past couple weeks..hehe

  • Kathy YL Chan
    May 30, 2006

    Hey Ed!The nutty kinako taste of sunseek really appeals to me…maybe because it’s of all the honey I add? lol. Just keep on reminding yourself that it’s good for you! (you know, all that mung beans, spinach and yams) :)

  • J. Lo
    May 30, 2006

    Hi, Kathy. Just wanted you to know that I’m really jealous of the fact that you can go to Palama. Korean food in the UK is expensive. I ordered a seafood ji-gae today and it cost $13 USD. Anyway, I love your food blog and I definitely hope you continue updating as long as you can. :)

  • anonymous
    May 31, 2006

    guess wut! i’m in NY! wahahahahha!!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    May 31, 2006

    Justin!When you come back man?! I’ve been waiting for someone to go to Hakkei with :) Eh, you pay more for Korean but at least you get decent indian. There’s not much more than limp naan’s and deflated pooris here. I better see you when you get back – till then I’ll be (gladly) holed up in Mavros kitchen. How’s your internship coming along? Must be knocking em all down with you Yale knowledge, lol. Take care!Hey Ed!You gotta tell me EVERYTHING you eat. Have SUPER DUPER fun (how could you not?) And of course, how much fun you have will be evidenced by the weight you put on! lol. Best of eating!

  • Sera
    May 31, 2006

    Mmm…that drink sound so delicious! What are the ingredients, exactly? :)Just love you blog, it’s a pleasure to read!Funny, I seem to remember that the Japanese need to drink a lot of a certain something (I can’t seem to remember the exact “instance” and it’s bugging me) because they, at least, get too much fiber….

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