As you’ve probably guessed by now, we’re kind of obsessed with ingredients. What things are, where they come from, how they’re grown or caught or harvested—each ingredient has a story to tell. And one of our favorite places to hear these stories is the traditional market. So we were really excited to discover that Mangwon Market, a local market not too far from the Bburi studio, has a dedicated space for workshops and meetings, plus a nice, big kitchen. With some help from Seoul Culture Day, we were able to put together an event to share some useful information about early summer ingredients, have a simple cooking class, and tour of the market.
Yesterday’s menu? Gang doenjang jjiggae (강된장 찌개, doenjang stew reduction) with steamed leaves for ssam (쌈, wraps). It’s a simple recipe that you can put together in half an hour and so delicious with freshly-cooked brown and white rice. We added wandu-kong (완두콩, spring peas) that we shelled the night before along with 17 other types of grains. First and foremost, however, it’s important to have good doenjang (된장, fermented soybean paste). We started off the day with a deep-dive and tasting of different kinds of doenjang, the different leaves and vegetables we got from the market, and a cooking demo of the day’s menu.
Then it was off to their stations, and everyone got started chopping, steaming and sautéing.
Lunch! The leaves we steamed for ssam were yang-baechu (양배추, cabbage), gomchwi (곰취) and hobak-ip (호박잎, summer squash leaf). Take a leaf, wrap up a spoonful of rice and gang doenjang, and you’ve got a bite of delicious right there.
We wrapped up with a tour of the market. A few notes about Mangwon Market: At a time when traditional markets are struggling to stay afloat, the vendors at Mangwon Market banded together and found all kinds of new ways to stay relevant to their neighborhood, including building the culture space we used. It’s a vibrant, thriving market full of people of all ages. Our guide explained where different vendors source their ingredients and gave us some tips for where to find the best quality products and where to find deals. A few of our favorites? The oiji (오이지, brined cucumber) vendor and the kongmul (콩물, soy bean broth) shop! Join us next time and we’ll be sure to share the details. 🙂