Peculiar Produce: Pickled Asian Food Edition

Remember in my first post when I mentioned that I was going to talk some more about the regular dragon fruit (as opposed to the yellow variant)? Well, I ate it, and it was supremely underwhelming and barely worth writing about. It tasted like the yellow dragon fruit except with much less flavor. It had been in my fridge for a while so for all I know it had started to go bad, and that’s all I have to say about that. But I digress.

If you haven’t had kimchi, then go ahead and treat yourself. It is a dish originating from Korea, and consists mainly of cabbage along with other ingredients which is then fermented. It sounds kind of gross, and looks a little odd as well, but is actually really good and makes a pretty tasty side dish for your bibimbap or whatever.

So I figured, since I like kimchi so much, why not try something of a similar nature? I went down to the Arum Korean Market and browsed their pickled goods section. Eventually I picked up two things (mainly because they were among the minority of the items for sale that were actually labeled in English). These two things were pickled garlic stems, and pickled plums.

I tried the pickled garlic stems first. I was expecting a powerful and overwhelming garlic taste coupled with an extreme saltiness, and to be honest I was kind of assuming it would just be bad. Not so!

The garlic flavor was much more subdued than I thought it would be, and the pickling process gave it a tasty zesty flavor. And despite being soaked in brine for who knows how long, the stems actually maintained a nice crunch. I think you are meant to add the stems to other dishes, but on their own they actually make a pretty delicious snack. The package cost me about six dollars.

Now, the pickled plums. Hoo boy.

I’ve had mango pickle before, which is an Indian condiment wherein mangoes are mixed with various spices and herbs and then pickled (obviously). It’s actually really delicious and adds a flavor that is sweet, salty, and spicy all at the same time to your curry or stir-fry. So I figured, fruit and pickling, similar process right? Nope.

These pickled plums are a product of Japan. They can be eaten on their own or with rice, or as an ingredient in other dishes. And, I’ll be honest, they’re not that great. They’re kind of like olives, so they’re very salty, but also really mushy, and have a weird, kind of unappealing sour taste to them as well. I ate three because I didn’t want to waste the money I spent on them, but I doubt I’ll be able to bring myself to eat any more. That’s six bucks down the drain. I went into it expecting a surprisingly good dish, despite all appearances, but sometimes you really can judge a book by its cover. And this isn’t a very good book.

David Gurman

David has never been a big fan of veggies, but because he loves you guys so much he started this blog just for you. He currently attends the professional writing program at Algonquin College and spends his free time trying not to take anything too seriously.

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