Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

July 11, 2010

KC is for KimChi


I believe Fiesta E-Mart grocery store is owned by a family of Korean decent. The other day, they had a traveling kimchi sales group come and set up a temporary kiosk to sell some Korean specialties you cannot get in Nashville (but you could get in large cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles). This kimchi group, which I did not get their card (bummer), travels from small city to small city in the Southeast USA to bring real Korean kimchi and banchan (Korean side dishes) for sale because these small cities like Nashville, Durham, etc don't have kimchi and banchan for sale normally. They say they only come to Nashville and Fiesta E-Mart only once per year, but they claimed they may be back once again around X-mas time, but I need to keep an eye out for the banner when they come back. I am so lucky to have met the kimchi dudes, and I must ask the Fiesta E-Mart staff when the kimchi dudes are coming back. The kimchi dudes set up with refrigerated 20 gallon sized barrels, each barrel had a different type of banchan and kimchi. About 1/2 where vegetable and fruit based kimchi, including Japanese preserved plums, long onion leaves, and some form of green leafy vegetable. The other banchan were seafood based such as fish heads, octopus, oysters, crab, fish eggs, and squid. The kimchi dudes also brought dry goods too like Korean cookies, popcorn, dried anchovies, soap, shampoo, tea, mushrooms, and a bunch of other great stuff.

The banchan and kimchi I got, some of it went for $25/lb and some of the vegetable based kimchi want for $3/lb. I spent about $50 for 5 small containers of banchan and kimchi. I got squid, oyster, baby crab, smelt roe, and green vegetable kimchi. The seafood based banchan I got all seemed to have been cured in salt, as any caviar is cured in salt. Then, the seafood based banchan is then further cured with garlic and red hot chilis. I got the oyster banchan because I know the oysters were harvested before the BP oil disaster, and likely not from the Gulf of Mexico, so I know they oysters are not poisoned by the BP oil sea-volcano. I love oysters, and I thought that this might be the only oysters I eat for a long time. The oysters were certainly salt cured as this banchan is very salty, but the saltiness is balanced by the garlic and chili flavors. The banchan I got is very good to mix with rice. I took just a couple table spoons of the seafood banchan and mixed it in with a generous serving of rice to make a bibimbap, and it made a really tasty quick dinner meal. I have put up most of the banchan and kimchi in the freezer, as directed by the kimchi dudes, so I can keep using a little bit of each one for a long while to come. I do have to ration out my banchan until I can see the kimchi dudes again.

More on Fiesta E-Mart:

I have just discovered Fiesta E Mart, an ethnic grocery store on Nolenville Rd. It is at 905 Nolensville Rd 615-832-7435, and it is located on the corner of where the Elysian Fields Kr*ger store is located, and is south of the Zoo, and north of Harding Rd. Fiesta E Mart is rumored to be owned by the same people who own K & S market. The pros to Fiesta E Mart is that there is the same wide variety of ethnic foods available at K & S, the vegetables are from the same distribution center as the chain grocery stores (like the Kr*ger) and Fiesta E-Mart prices the produce way cheaper than the chain grocery stores, there is a really good parking lot at Fiesta E Mart, and there is a traffic light at the corner of Elysian Field Rd and Nolensville Rd, so that it is a safer entrance and exit out of the parking area than the K & S.

The avocados, limes, peppers and cilantro are all so much less per piece or pound than the chain grocery stores, but of higher quality at Fiesta E-Mart because the turn over is so much higher in these veggie products. When I am not traveling for work, I have picked up avocados, limes, peppers and cilantro to make guacamole for snacking for the week. Amazing! Just perfectly ripe avocados for the fraction of the price of those in the chain grocery. Last time I was at a chain grocery in the West End area, I looked at the avocados, and they were rotting and oozing black goo, and the chain store was charge twice that of Fiesta E-Mart for rotting food. In the back right corner of Fiesta E-Mart is a kimchi refrigerated cabinet with big jars of cabbage based kimchi. Oh, what a sight! I have not purchased this kimchi because it is too much quantity for my small household, but for those who love kimchi, this is the store section for you. In the meat section, there is a hot table with a couple varieties of chicharron, and a couple stewed pork dishes. There is on more reddish-orange stewed pork dish that I got about 1/3 lb and used in home made tacos. This pork was likely made with garlic, salt, pepper, chilis, and annotto, and it is perfect flavor with a little Mexican style crema, onions, cilantro inside a tortilla. Fiesta E-Mart also has a huge long aisle of ramen noodles, all varieties and sizes. Believe me, there is an art to ramen beyond the quick caloric meal made in a college dorm room hot pot. At the check out lanes, there is a table of fresh made Korean snacks, like cake, rice sticks, and locally made kimchi to choose from. There is a lot of great ethnic foods happening here.


At 7/13/10, 10:25 AM, Blogger said...

I got really sick from eating Kimchi before and quit after that =[

At 7/22/10, 8:57 PM, Anonymous ModFruGal said...

Ooh...thanks! Never been, but that K & S is a regular stop for me so I'll hit it up soon.....


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