I really got my dander up when I saw this the other day at Trader Joe’s in the What’s New section. Trader Joe’s Authentically Korean Seaweed Salad with a Spicy Dressing! Yum, yum, yum! Or so I thought! This has to be one of the more unique things that keeps me coming back to Trader Joe’s just so I can see what wacky crap they come up with next. Although, I have to say what is wacky to me and some of you is not too wacky somewhere else in the world.
Of course, this is a common dish in Korea but it’s not something you see every day on the grocery store shelves in the good ole USA. I might find it down the street in the Asian market if I really wanted it. Probably right next to the Kimchee (which I also love!). Yum, fermented cabbage!
Anyway, I spied this in the new section at my local Trader Joe’s the other day and snatched up a bag and ran it home and had to try it on the spot! I don’t usually upload this many pictures, but I thought it might be important to show more than the usual number of pictures because it’s a little involved to prep it. In the package you have several different types of dried seaweed and then a pouch of sauce that you squeeze onto the seaweed and mix it up at the end. This should be fairly authentic since it is a Product of Korea. When I opened the bag it smelled the the ocean, which should be a good thing because all you want is that fresh seaweed smell.
The way you prep this dish is pretty simple, but takes several steps. First you need to soak the seaweed in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes. Then you take it out and drain the seaweed. It should re hydrate and puff up quite a bit from the dried form. Then you can blot some of the water out of the seaweed with paper towels. Last step is to open the “salad dressing” and dress the “salad”.
As you can see by the last picture, it’s quite an eyeful of color! Greens, and purples and reds and whites. I decided to try all the different seaweeds I could differentiate. Some were softer than others and others were fairly chewy. I really liked the seaweed flavors all quite distinct. The problem that I had and it’s just my lame Americanized palate, is that it was way too hot for me. I know Koreans like their food hot, and I like my fair share of hot food, but man oh man this was hot! I couldn’t eat more than a couple of bites.
Just as I was about to dump it in the trash, my father walks in. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know we lived in Thailand when I was a little kid and got exposed to Thai food way, way long time ago before it was so fashionable here in this country. Anyway, I told my father and he dove right in! He said when we lived in Thailand there was a Korean restaurant down the street from where he worked and they went there fairly often and he said this tasted exactly like he used to get in that restaurant! He gobbled it all down!!!
OK, I really like the idea of this dish, but I was having serious heat issues! I barely even put half the “salad dressing” on the seaweed. Again, I applaud Trader Joe’s for exposing us to new and interesting food from around the world, but if I could have one request, that would be for them to dial the heat down a notch. In the end, I’ll give this Trader Joe’s Korean Seafood Salad 7 bells!