One good thing about large Chinese supermarkets is that they often have a “hot, prepared foods” section. This is where they prepare and sell vast quantities of fried rice, steamed buns, soups, stir-fried dishes, and many different types of dim sum. And, if you go later in the day when it is near closing time, they usually put whatever food they have left out on sale to get rid of it all.
It’s not often that I like the stuff that comes out on sale in the evening, since it’s usually the stuff that doesn’t sell as well. But yesterday, they had small tubs of 낙지볶음 (nakji bokkeum) on the sale table, and I could not resist but take one. I had not tried it before, but I did know that it was a Korean side dish, and since I’ve so far liked all the Korean side dishes that I’ve tried, I was pretty confident that my $2 would be well-spent. Furthermore, I had no qualms about eating tiny octopuses in a spicy sauce (낙지볶음 is basically stir-fried octopus); being from a seafood-loving family, I’ve consumed octopus (and squid!) countless times.
I don’t usually eat much rice, but I did last night, because those octopuses (or octopii?) were just so good. They were a bit too salty and spicy to be eaten alone in large amounts, but that is perfectly balanced out by a small bowl of rice. I have to say, while Koreans may have to wash a lot of dishes after every meal (they serve a lot of side dishes in ADDITION to a main dish, and everyone has their own separate bowls for rice too), they certainly have found out how to make bland rice really tasty.
The 낙지볶음 was so good that my parents and I consumed the entire box before I remembered to take a picture of it for this post first! What a shame. However, it did look something like this, except it was slathered with generous amounts of sesame seeds and sesame oil, and it was accompanied with some crunchy, julienned carrots and pickled daikon radishes:
Gosh, just writing about it makes me hungry for some 낙지볶음 right now. Maybe I’ll go get some more tonight.
(Image courtesy of nawayo.com)