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.

Facebook | YouTube | Tumblr

Peculiar Produce: Canned Meat Edition

I have to issue a warning about my last post: don’t eat the kiwano unless you’re a fan of intestinal distress. Seriously, it apparently has a bunch of dietary fibre in it, so unless you’re looking to get a case of the runs, avoid it at all costs.

And now:

I know what you’re thinking: "David, this isn't produce!" If you'll recall, I said in my first post that I wouldn't be exclusively covering produce in the interest of not limiting my options. And now you're probably thinking, “Oh David, this isn’t obscure, Spam has been around for God knows how long, this post is garbage.” Well, consider the following: have you actually ever eaten Spam in your life? It used to be a big thing, but not anymore. Yeah, you’ve passed it by on the shelves in the grocery store, but have you bought a can and eaten it? Probably not. But now you don’t have to, because I’m going to do it for you.

Here’s what it looks like out of the can. It’s basically a meat brick.

I cut a slice off of it to test it out. It tastes a bit like ham, a bit like bologna… the most generic pork taste you can possibly think of. You get the feeling that it’s just a whole bunch of different meats mashed together into this brick. Not bad, but nothing to write home about. Inspired by the picture on the can, I cut off two more slices, threw them between two slices of bread, added a bit of cheese, onion, and mustard, then microwaved it for 45 seconds. It got extremely hot on the bottom, but more importantly, the cheese melted a bit and the meat heated up to make a hot Spam sandwich. It was not bad, although the Spam kind of overpowered the cheese and onions. The expiration date on the can said 2018, which is either a testament to the secure packaging or an indication of how little the product has to do with actual food. It cost about four dollars, so that’s pretty decent for a food product that could probably survive a nuclear holocaust with no adverse changes to its taste or nutritional content.

Next up, I had a tin of smoked herring from the Brunswick fish company:

Like the Spam, it’s probably something you’ve seen before but never tried. So I figured, why not?

I was expecting individual de-boned herrings inside when I opened it, but instead I got this cat food-looking wad of fish.

I grimaced and dug in. It turned out to be pretty decent - a little salty, not too strong of a fishy taste, an all right texture. I ate the whole tin right then and there. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to use it, maybe put it on a sandwich or in a salad like tuna, or eat it straight out of the container like I did. I doubt it matters anyway. I paid $1.80 for it, which seems solid for what you get.


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.

Facebook | YouTube | Tumblr