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By Steven Li on 2007-01-18

January 18, 2007

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Have you ever had Pumpkin Duk? Because if not, you should! For as long as I can remember my mom has had this absolute infatuation with Korean mochi. Japanese mochi she likes, Chinese mochi she also likes, but Korean mochi…she LOVES. I don’t recall a single visit to Palama market where we did not leave without package of mochi in hand. She claims that Korean mochi is superior because it has more chew and it is not nearly as sweet as the Japanese ones. She also likes it because they integrate whole beans into the mochi. I for one, always thought that Korean mochi was just oookkkay. Kind of boring tasting. Until the day I met Pumpkin Duk. I had seen this version on the shelves in the past, but based on my past Korean mochi experience I didn’t have any great hankering to try it out. But the other day, you see, they had run out of her favorite bean spotted mochi so we thought to try Pumpkin Duk. And man, I think this was the greatest food decision I made all week. Pumpkin Duk is like eating a lightly sweet, ricey, not too chewy rectangle studded with bits of red beans and a moist cuts of pumpkin. I’m sorry if my description isn’t exactly mouthwatering but you really need to try it to see. It’s nothing at all like Japanese mochi. In fact, I think you could eat a block of this and call it lunch without feeling like you just had a lot of dessert. Cause although it is technically mochi…it’s more like a savory/sweet, very rice-y mochi. Like chewy rice with pumpkin and beans smashed into a delicious orange block. It’s one of those eat it to believe it things.
One of the ingredients on the package is called “Gean.” Anyone know what this is? Maybe it was a typo.
Ooooh, and even better. If you’re ever in the Kaimuki area, the factory that makes this mochi for the supermarket is located right on the corner of 10th and Waialae. 1213 10th Avenue to be exact. A bunch of very friendly Korean ladies sit there all day and churn out some of the most unusual mochi yet. If you go at the right time you can even get the mochi hot. Imagine Hot Pumpkin Duk. Now that would make my day.

These other items aren’t nearly as important as the Pumpkin Duk, but here some things we also like to purchase from Palama Market:

Baby clementines. Why? Because they are so sweet, seedless and SO easy to peel. They appeal to lazy fruit eaters, a group of which I admit to being on occasions.

Kimchee, because who doesn’t like kimchee? And if you don’t, please learn to like it otherwise you’re missing out! And aside from the massive amounts of sodium…it’s pretty healthy.

And what is affectionately known in our family as “baby fish.” To the left is the spicy version, and non-spicy on the right. Good on hot rice, cold rice and even alone. Salty, sticky with this addictingly fantastic fishy bit to it, they could be easily eaten at the speed of potato chips if you don’t watch yourself!



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