I Heart H Mart, Gaji Namul (yummy Korean eggplant), and Of Course, Michigan

a peach colored agate
a peach colored agate from the shores of lake superior

I have discovered H Mart, practically in my backyard. Just down the road,
so to speak; a hop skip and a jump from my favorite Indian grocery haunts.
Oh joy!

ingredients for gaji namul

ingredients for gaji namul ~ check out the one *pound* bottle of roasted, crushed sesame seed ~
on sale at H Mart for the paltry sum of $5

Shopping at H Mart is an experience in itself. To quote one Yelp reviewer
from last year: “There are Zip cars in the parking lot, that should tell you alot.
A trip to H Mart is not an errand, it’s an event”!

A giant produce section with every vegetable imaginable — on Saturday I saw actual fresh jackfruit, whole, as big as two footballs!
Oh, how I wished I had a knife big enough to handle one of those.
Oh, how I wished I had brought my camera!

Fresh bamboo shoots are available halved, sliced, cut into cubes or strips.
A myriad of mushrooms awaits; if you’ve ever wanted to cook with hon shimeji, beech, maitake — here they are.

The world is your king oyster mushroom at H Mart.

Usually they have brinjal, long Asian as well as smaller Indian; ridge gourd, silk squash, ash gourd, pumpkin, etc. Fresh peppers, hot and sweet, every Asian green you can think of, herbs, and tofu — oh, the tofu!

Meat and fish of every variety is sold as well — marinated, sliced in specialty cuts for what I can only assume are some of the hallmarks of Korean cuisine, and there is an entire section of prepared Korean side dishes — bracken, spinach, mushroom, you name it — and of course kimchi of all sorts… I could go on and on. Noodles, frozen dumplings of great quality without MSG, oils and vinegars and sauces, shelf upon shelf of seaweeds, even a small section with dals and various spices — although for dry spices I’ll take my Indian markets any day.

At any rate H Mart is a great place for retail therapy — not to mention lunch, with a food court and bakery right there in the store. Next time, I’m going to bring my camera.

Last weekend I was out hunting agates.

outfitted for the (agate) hunt against the elements at whitefish point ~ yes, it’s always windy and cold up there!

This weekend I was hunting for an authentic Korean recipe — a side dish in which quick-cooked spinach is seasoned simply with fresh garlic, green onions, soy sauce, and sesame. I stumbled upon Maangchi, whose infectious cooking videos — complete with eclectic music — reeled me right in. In addition to the spinach, I was enticed to make this eggplant dish, called gaji namul. I changed it up a little by adding fresh ginger and cilantro, as well as some fresh chopped bamboo shoot; but mostly I followed Maangchi’s recipe. It’s amazing on rice!

gaji namul with bamboo shoot

gaji namul ~ korean seasoned eggplant
it was so late, I had no time for a pretty presentation but trust me, it’s delicious!

Check out the original recipe here and the video here. Thanks Maangchi!

Requisite Michigan pics :)

majestic mighty mac
the majestic Mackinac Bridge in waning sun

ice bridge
and a bridge of ice on the old pilings at whitefish point

72 million rocks at lake superior
millions of rocks, with maybe a few agates mixed in ~ storm front passing over lake superior

yellow rumped myrtle warbler
a yellow rumped (myrtle) warbler at paradise

brick red agate
a brick-red agate full of fine banding


  1. mm said

    Good to see that your creativity is back up and running. Agates and food look great…..you got some real nice aggies there….Wonderful pict of the bridge. Hope you had a good time up north. mm

    Nice to see you here mm — never can go wrong “up north”! :)

  2. Nupur said

    Nice to see a post from you again, Linda- I hope all is well! Gorgeous Michigan pics as usual- the Michigan tourism board needs to hire you. You truly love the place!

    Wouldn’t that be a dream job for me! ;) Hope you’re all doing well Nupur — as usual I have alot of catching up to do.

  3. Wowo this time of the year, you have ice like that,
    Wish we had a shop like that.
    I have been wanting to try myhand in korean food after hearing so much about itfrom my sis. Till now not tried yet.

    Hello Finla, what a lovely name! Happy to know that. If you’re going to try Korean I think you’d enjoy this eggplant — easy and so tasty! :)

  4. indosungod said

    Linda, good to hear from you. I second Nupur! Michigan ought to hire you.You make me want to go up there and meet you every time I see a post.

    We make do with a Q Mart :) It is not as elaborate but still has some of the exotica. Other than kimchi I doubt if I have ever tasted Korean food.

    Your dish there would be a great start.

    I’m just waiting to finally get up there for good, ISG, to invite you :) Then we’ll have to pack our ingredients — no Q or H Mart in the UP of MI! I have not delved too deeply into Korean food, but I sense that will change. Will be by Daily Musings soon!

  5. Maangchi said

    Your eggplant side dish (gaji namul) looks awesome!

    Thanks for stopping Maangcih — I think you may even inspire me to make kimchi! ;)

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