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Yummy vegetarian dumplings and Korean goodies

May 24, 2011

If you ever shop at Korean supermarkets (like Kosco, for example) in Christchurch you may have noticed that the store also has a section dedicated to selling takeaway food. I had never really taken these seriously because I’m not really a fan of kimchi and I already have a place I like to go for sushi. It turns out I am an airhead and Korean food totally goes beyond that. However, the smell of dumplings lured me in (we were at Blenheim Rd Kosco, buying tofu). I’ve had the frozen ones and haven’t been impressed. However, they were frying them right there, and I got offered one. My heart sank because I figured it would be full of pork, which I don’t really like and also don’t eat unless it’s local, free range, etc. However they insisted the dumplings were vegetarian, so I bit in – FREAKIN YUM, but my heart sank a little more – had they mistaken “vegetarian” for “has vegetables in”? Apparently not – these had tofu bits in that didn’t taste at all like tofu. It didn’t taste overwhelmingly meaty either, just nice and umami with a hint of ginger (there was a perfect amount of cabbage in there as well). I had to have more.

This is also when Will noticed some squid and got very excited. Unfortunately it was a little too spicy for us, but the dumplings were yummy ($5 for 10 small/medium sized dumplings). The one thing they could improve on is the looseness of the filling, and the fact that they go a bit softer once packaged. I’m hoping they set up at the Winter Wonderland Market on campus and sell them fresh, crispy bits and all. They had a really good range of kimchi-free vegetarian stuff (including sushi EDIT: or gimbap according to a friend in Korea), so I will be back for more. Sooo nice to see a place that sells affordable, healthy and fresh food that caters to vegetarians. They have discreet seating as well but we were in a bit of hurry. Here are their other locations:

KOSCO, 227 Blenheim Road (at the back of the store on the left)

Kimchi & food, Church Corner, next to the Pharmacy.

KOSCO Shirley and KOSCO Riccarton.

PS. No one has paid me to write this. Just thought I’d clarify that!

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Zoe permalink
    May 24, 2011 4:47 pm

    I miss Kosco so much!! I moved away to Nelson and there isn’t one here. I miss all the yummy terribly unhealthy junk food :D

  2. May 24, 2011 5:15 pm

    Kimchi can be overwhelming at times too, I remembered being haunted by the sight of huge containers of kimchi everywhere after visiting a supermarket in Seoul..LOL:p
    The vegetarian dumplings do look really good, and I am taking your word for it that they are delicious too:) Seems like the supermarket hand out really good food samples, unlike some of the ones we have here:p

    I believe you that you are not being paid to advertise for Kosco..hehehe ;)

  3. Andy permalink
    May 24, 2011 5:40 pm

    Ah you won’t have to worry about the dumplings NOT being vegetarian. By law, importing of meat products from Korea is very limited if not almost banned so all of these Korean frozen food you see in Kosco contain NO MEAT :( It’s all fake meat…

    I think I heard once that any food imports that come to NZ get scrutinized a lot for meat contents, unless they’re from Aus. Another fun fact.

  4. May 24, 2011 6:42 pm

    Z: That’s interesting, I always thought they were a nation wide thing, as they seem pretty big now. Surely there are plenty of other Asian supermarkets also selling junk food though? Like those “onion” rings…damn they’re addictive.

    C: Yes I really do wonder how you could eat that much kimchi…but then I’m Chinese, don’t cook that much Asian food, and go through a shocking amount of soy sauce, so I guess it makes sense!

    A: That’s interesting…I have no problem with the fake meat aspect as long as it’s tasty, doesn’t have super unhealthy ingredients, and isn’t super expensive. Hopefully it’s healthier? Also I guess Aus is treated as ok because they also have a similar level of…scrutiny when it comes to food imports.

  5. May 25, 2011 10:01 am

    I would love to find a vegetarian Kimchi, here in Auckland I only seen the one with fish inside.
    I love dumplings, but there is no substitute for home-made. I have just posted a recipe on my vegan blog for tofu, mushrooms and coriander dumpling, with step by step instructions
    http://alessandra-veganblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/mushroom-tofu-and-coriander-dumplings.html
    (I am not a vegan, just a vegetarian, but some vegan friends ask me to make a separate blog for vegan recipes, as they don’t like to ‘mix’).

    Ciao
    Alessandra

  6. May 25, 2011 11:10 am

    A: Oh thanks for that! Your batter seems to stick together quite well too. I’d like to try something with tvp crumbles in it as well though, since tvp is apparently quite good at soaking up sauce flavours and has a nice springy texture.

  7. May 26, 2011 2:24 am

    That looks amazing–sad that we don’t have Kosco in the U.S. We do have H-Mart, which has similar offerings.

  8. May 26, 2011 10:54 am

    A: That’s good to know. I like that they make everything fresh as well, unlike many of those supermarket thingees which tend to sell stuff off the shelf.

  9. May 26, 2011 12:36 pm

    Zo, I add the breadcrumbs and everything stick together well :-).

    Can I put you link on my NZ blog roll on http://alessandrazecchini.blogspot.com/?

    Ciao
    A.

  10. May 26, 2011 12:41 pm

    A: Ahh. I suppose if you toasted the bread as well it would have a really nice warming flavour to it.

    Of course, I am honoured :)

  11. May 26, 2011 9:40 pm

    Good to know! Funny, I walked past the new one at Church Corner the other day, will def have to try some, love a good dumpling :) BTW I am going to try the Japanese curry from Pure sushi tomorrow, the sushi was great last week and I love the novelty of having it delivered, makes you feel rather special…

  12. May 26, 2011 10:45 pm

    B: They are surprisingly good for fake meat dumplings, just a little loose on the filling. Can’t wait to try Pure sushi too. I have two places I really want to visit before 1st June (last entertainment book I’ll have for a while I think), neither of which are cheap…so it may be some time before I get around to it! >.<

  13. May 27, 2011 4:25 am

    Wish I lived in the area, this supermarket sounds great! The smell of dumplings would have lured me in for sure…I don’t eat pork either so I would have definitely been hooked on the vegetarian dumplings!

  14. May 27, 2011 8:07 am

    Ahhh I love dumplings. Good to know the vegetarian ones are every bit as flavour-y as a meat one :)

  15. May 27, 2011 12:21 pm

    F: It is pretty handy…it has all sorts of kitchenware and houseware stuff too. Like shoupies instead of sharpies (permanent markers), and green tack instead of blue tack hehe.

    H: Me too, and I miss making them at my parents but we haven’t quite figured out a good filling recipe yet, so next time will try to use Alessandra’s recipe!

  16. May 31, 2011 2:00 am

    Normally my heart would sink if there wasn’t pork in them. But those really sound and look amazing. And dumplings aren’t something I make at home. I know… I should.:)

  17. May 31, 2011 1:22 pm

    R: It’s ok, I’m too lazy to do them myself as well, I only ever make them with family. I suppose it could be a cool thing to do with a group of friends or something?

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