by Mark Hoffman
first posted: 3/6/2018
last updated: 3/11/2018
Grand Rapids is lucky to have three good Korean grocery stores, Seoul Market, Lee's Oriental Market, and Olympic Market. However, all three are in one part of town. This makes frequent Korean grocery shopping rather inconvenient for many of us Grand Rapideans. If you often want to cook Korean, but only can get to a Korean grocer once a month, then you should look for a Mexican grocery store closer to home. The dozens of local Mexican grocer will usually carry several cuts of meat that are useful in Korean cooking, including thin-cut skirt or flank steak for bulgogi; tablitas (cross cut beef ribs) for kalbi, and pork belly for samgyeopsal-gui.
Mexican grocers are also great places to buy affordable spices and fresh-baked goods. As a westsider, I frequent Supermercado Michoacan at 602 Leonard St NW.
Shopping in the Mexican grocery store may temp you to experiment with Korean-Mexican fusion cooking, or Kor-Mex. Kor-Mex, started in LA with Korean Taco trucks and has spread eastward. It has now been exported to Seoul and Singapore by Korean-Americans. Unfortunately, it has not yet reached Grand Rapids. (At least, I have not spotted a Korean Taco food truck. But it may be out there somewhere.) Thus, you will have to make Kor-Mex meals on your own. Here are some recipes that you might try.