Kochujang/ssamjang in Chinatown
I'm making momofuku-style bo ssam this weekend and need a source for kochujang and ssamjang. I expect kochjang would be available in any of the markets in Chinatown, not sure about ssamjang. Anyone have a favorite brand and/or source?
It's not in Chinatown, but I get that stuff (and more) at Lotte Market on Mass Ave in Central Square. They have a selection of several different varieties. Kochujang and ssamjang are pretty basic products and I have not seen a big difference from brand to brand, other than different heat levels (indicated by # in the ssamjang). Lotte carries Arirang kimchi which IS an artisan product and definitely worth getting. Awesome kimchi!
Lotte Market also has cheap, big and fresh scallions if you plan on making the ginger scallion sauce. A helpful tip for this sauce is to heat the oil on the stove before mixing it in with the ginger and scallions. It definitely helps to take some of the bite out of the ginger and really brings the flavors together.
Parking is generally easy on Mass Ave near Lotte and it is convenient to public transportation. If you drive and can't find a spot you can pull into the courtyard (entrance off Village St) in front of the store and park there. Not sure if you're supposed to or not, but you'll be in and out fast and they've never said anything to me.
If you have never made that prep before, definitely get a bone in shoulder (stays together much better), and wash the brine off before roasting the shoulder or it will be too salty. I cook it at a bit lower heat (and longer as a result) than most recipes call for. I also baste occasionally with pan drippings, including after I add the brown sugar to help it caramelize.
Also, don't be tempted to skip the oysters. Momofuku pairs them with this dish for a reason. I like to drop one right on top of my wrap, it's a great combo.
Enjoy your meal, we made this for fathers day. So good!
Thanks for the parking tip at Lotte Market! I used to live around the corner, but I often have trouble parking around there. I don't think it's the greatest market, but every Korean market will have a couple varieties of kochujang and ssamjang. Some of the people who work at Lotte are very helpful.
I do love the homeyness of the Han A Rum Oriental Market in North Cambridge. They have interesting homemade panchan.
I also gotta give a shout-out to Reliable market in Union Sq, Somerville. Good variety of kochujang and other staples, and I must note that they have really fresh and inexpensive fish, as well.
This might not be particularly helpful, but if you have a Shaw's that's convenient to where you live or on your commute you might try there. I just bought both kochujang and ssamjang at the Shaw's on River St. in Waltham because I'm also planning on making bo ssam soon. They were in the Shop the World section. Worth checking out. No choice of brands, of course.
(Thanks to Jenny O. and Allstonian for the tip that this particular Shaw's has a better variety of ethnic foods than some of the others.)
I get both of them at Han A Rum Oriental Market in Cambridge, next to Hana Sushi.
The owner makes her own ssamjang -- last time I was there she gave me a container of it for free.
Good luck! It's a terrific recipe. For the record, when I made it, I got my oysters at Fresh Pond Seafood and my pork at McKinnon's. The biggest expense and hassle of the whole dish were those oysters. Everything else was pretty simple... especially the pork itself.
They are available in some of the bigger Chinese markets, but selection tends to be quite limited. For better selection, I would hit the suggested Korean markets already named.
Market Basket in Chelsea carries gochujang and doenjang (which you can use to make your own ssamjang). Only one or two brands of each though, IIRC.
Kam Man Foods (which replaced the Super 88) in South Bay has both, which I purchased recently.
I bought this brand for both, and liked them a lot (image stolen from someone's blog...)
If you're making Chang's bo ssäm sauce recipe, I would just say that I found it way too vinegary. So much so that I made an additional one my usual way: gochujang + ssämjang + a little sugar + grapeseed oil + water to thin it out. Everyone preferred that one.
The scallion-ginger sauce he makes, tho, is to die for! I put it on everything.
* * *
Ginger Scallion Sauce
Makes about 3 cups
Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed. Though it's best after 15 or 20 minutes of sitting, ginger scallion sauce is good from the minute it's stirred together up to a day or two in the fridge. Use as directed, or apply as needed.
2½ cups thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites; from 1 to 2 large bunches)
½ cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger
¼ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
1½ teaspoons soy sauce, preferably usukuchi (light soy sauce), found in Asian markets
¾ teaspoon sherry vinegar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
re: Jolyon Helterman
I never had success with the ginger-scallion sauce recipe until I found a slightly alternative version that specified heating the oil first. Then--wow!
The last time I made pork this way it got raves even from someone claiming not to like pork. It is really a most incredible dish.