The Advantages of Eating Beans

Pinto soufflé, garbanzos a l’orange, black bean flambé…if we afforded beans gourmet status, we may well reduce the burden of many of our most common degenerative diseases. That’s because the incredible health benefits of beans are simply undeniable. Let’s take a look at how the many benefits of beans can positively affect your health and well-being.

Health Benefit of Beans #1: High in Protein

Though lean meats and fish typically get all the glory, one important health benefit of beans is their protein content. A cup of cooked beans—black, pinto, or kidney, to name a few—contains roughly 15 grams of satiating, muscle- and tissue-building protein. So whether you’re a vegetarian or just looking for something other than chicken, fish, or turkey to add to your plate, try beans instead.

Health Benefit of Beans #2: Loaded With Fiber

Did you know that the average American only consumes about half the daily recommended amount of fiber? Instead of getting the 30–35 grams required for optimal health and proper digestion, most people only eat about 16 grams. Adequate fiber intake can lower cholesterol, ward off diabetes, enhance intestinal health, help with weight loss, and relieve a number of other health concerns. In fact, a recent study showed that every 7 additional grams of fiber consumed by study participants helped to significantly reduce their risk of heart disease. Another health benefit of beans? You can get that amount of fiber (about 7.5 grams) in just one half-cup serving.

Health Benefit of Beans #3: Bursting With B-Vitamins, Folic Acid, and Minerals

Another benefit of beans is that they are packed with vitamins and minerals, particularly B-vitamins, folic acid, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and copper—nutrients that the standard American diet tends to be deficient in. Beans also contain other phytonutrients such as plant sterols, lectins, and phenolic compounds with diverse health-enhancing properties.

Health Benefits of Beans #4: Rare Plant Source of Lysine

An interesting health benefit of beans is that they are one of the few plant sources of the amino acid lysine. Why is lysine important? For starters, it’s an essential amino acid, meaning it’s necessary for health but your body cannot produce it so you must get it from dietary sources. Furthermore, it’s required in the formation of collagen and connective tissue, the conversion of fatty acids into energy, and the absorption of calcium. Meat, fish, cheese, and eggs are good sources of lysine, but the clear winner in the plant world is beans.

Health Benefit of Beans #5: Low on the Glycemic Index

If you are watching your weight or your blood sugar, you are probably familiar with the glycemic index (GI) of different foods. In laymen’s terms, glycemic index basically refers to how quickly foods are broken down in your body and how they affect blood sugar. Foods with a high glycemic index cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin (and subsequent crashes), and foods lower on the GI list tend to be digested more slowly and have less of an effect. The slower breakdown of foods helps keep blood sugar on an even keel, makes you feel full longer, and has positive effects on several aspects of health. Foods with a GI of 55 or lower are considered low glycemic. And guess what? Another health benefit of beans is that they have a GI ranging from 10 to 40, with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) being the lowest.

Health Benefit of Beans #6: Boon for Heart Health, Diabetes, and More

The benefits of beans really are undeniable. Regular consumption of beans has been linked to improvements in heart and intestinal health, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, weight control, and more. Everyone should try to incorporate more of these nutritional powerhouses into their daily diets. (Check out the healthy bean recipes below for ideas on how to get started.)

How to Overcome One Downside to Beans

Despite all the health benefits of beans, they can produce intestinal gas, which can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. It’s caused by the human body’s inability to completely digest resistant starches and other carbohydrates in beans called oligosaccharides. We simply lack the enzymes to break them down into simpler molecules for absorption. When these undigested carbs arrive in the intestinal tract, they are metabolized by the trillions of bacteria that reside there, which break them down in a fermentation process that releases hydrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases. (The odor is caused by sulfur compounds.)

There are two ways to reduce this problem. First, soak dried beans plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda in cold water for eight hours or overnight. Pour off the soaking water and rinse well before cooking. This will get rid of a significant percentage of indigestible oligosaccharides.

Second, take Beano or digestive enzymes when you eat beans. Beano contains alpha-galactosidase, an enzyme that converts the indigestible carbohydrates in beans into simple, readily absorbed sugars.

Beans are available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Dr. Whitaker

The Health Benefits of Roasted Barley Tea

The Health Benefits of Roasted Barley Tea

Overview

Individuals interested in beverages with therapeutic properties may be intrigued by roasted barley tea, known in Japanese as mugicha or in Korean as boricha. Barley tea is available in loose grains, tea bags or prepared tea drinks. It is traditionally used for detoxification, to improve digestion and for urinary tract infections, among other applications. While these uses have not been proven by scientific research, barley tea has other health-promoting properties.

Antibacterial

Roasted barley tea interferes with the absorption of oral streptococci, states the December 2006 issue of the “Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.” Italian researchers exposed pretreated ceramic beads mimicking tooth enamel to bacteria and the tea in various combinations, discovering that the tea inhibited bacterial colonization and adhesion. Researchers noted that one chemical known for its anti-adhesive properties was absent in barley tea which was not roasted.

Antioxidant

Barley tea has antioxidant properties, notes the December 2004 issue of “Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry.” A team of Japanese researchers from Shizuoka University analyzed the chemical components of barley tea and their effects on peroxynitrite. This unstable oxidant can lead to cell death and health complications including cardiovascular, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases, explains nature.com. The research team determined the presence of 10 chemicals within barley tea which were able to scavenge, or destroy, the peroxynitrite.

Anticoagulative Properties

Barley tea improves blood fluidity, according to the April 2002 issue of the “Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology.” High blood viscosity can lead to impaired blood circulation and related health disorders. Japanese researchers working for the Kagome Company found that the fluidity of the blood increased directly in proportion with the presence of alkylpyrazine, a substance which gives flavor to their tea.

Roasted Barley Tea is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on LIVESTRONG.COM

Top 10 Health Benefits of Brown Rice

Brown rice is better for you than white — most of us know that! It’s The majority of consumers typically choose white rice over brown rice because of the difference of appearance. While it’s true white rice looks so much more delicious than brown rice, it doesn’t mean it’s the healthier alternative. According to a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, brown rice is the top choice in terms of both nutritional and other inherent healthy benefits. Let’s compare brown rice vs. white rice.

Tasty, Easy Brown Rice Recipes e-bookIf you’d like to make more use of brown rice, and want easy, tasty recipes right at your fingertips, consider our Tasty, Easy Brown Rice Recipes pdf e-book, part of our affordable e-book series. With 30 of our most popular recipes and 20 full-color photos, you can print out this concise guide or view it right on your computer.

Why Brown Rice? Before white rice went through the refining process, it at one time looked exactly like brown rice. Brown rice, unlike white rice, still has the side hull and bran. The side hulls and brans provide “natural wholeness” to the grain and are rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. For those trying to lose weight or those suffering from diabetes, brown rice can prove a healthful staple given its low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes.

Unfortunately, all white rice packaging has a label that reads “enriched.” Since white rice has been stripped of iron, vitamins, zinc, magnesium and other nutrients during the refining process, manufacturers must add unnatural fortifications in the form of synthetic vitamins and iron so it can be marketed to the public as a “nutritious food.” Although white rice is fortified, it still doesn’t reach the minimum nutritional requirements for one serving of food as specified by the FDA. The healthy benefits of brown rice are listed below.

Thai pineapple stir-fried riceIf you’d like to find lots of easy, tasty ways to use brown rice, see our wide array of Brown Rice Recipes.

1. Rich in Selenium Brown rice is rich in selenium which reduces the risk for developing common illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.

2. High in Manganese One cup of brown rice provides 80% of our daily manganese requirements. Manganese helps the body synthesize fats. Manganese also benefits our nervous and reproductive systems.

3. Rich in Naturally-Occurring Oils Naturally occurring oils are beneficial for the body as these healthful fats help normalize cholesterol levels.

4. Promotes Weight Loss The fiber content of brown rice keeps bowel function at it’s peak since it makes digestion that much easier. Brown rice is the perfect addition to the daily diet for those seeking bowel regularity. In addition, brown rice also makes the tummy feel full which translates to smaller meal portions.

5. Considered Whole Grain Brown rice is considered a whole grain since it hasn’t lost its “wholeness” through the refinement process. Wholes grains are proven to reduce the buildup of arterial plaque and reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.

Brown rice in a bowl6. Rich in Anti-Oxidants This is one of the best kept secrets regarding brown rice. We usually associate anti-oxidant rich foods with blueberries, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables. The antioxidant capacity of brown rice is right up there with these super stars.

7. High in Fiber Brown rice is high in fiber and on top of the list for foods that can help prevent colon cancer. This can be attributed to the high levels of fiber naturally contained in brown rice. These fibers attach to substances that cause cancer as well as to toxins in the body, thus eliminating them and keeping them from attaching to the colon wall.

8. A Slow-Release Sugar Brown rice helps stabilize blood sugar levels; therefore, it’s an excellent food choice for those suffering from diabetes. Studies show that those who consume one half cup of brown rice daily reduce their risks of developing diabetes by 60%. On the other hand, those who consume white rice regularly increase their chances of developing diabetes one hundred-fold.

9. Perfect Baby Food Brown rice cereal or brown rice itself is the perfect baby’s first food due to the dense natural nutrition and fiber it contains. This is a much better choice than refined white rice cereal products as rapidly growing babies and toddlers require nutrient rich diets to help maintain rapid growth cycles.

10. Candida Yeast Infections Brown rice is the perfect adjunct for candida yeast infection treatmentsgiven that high glycemic and otherwise sugary/starchy foods are prohibited during most candida treatment protocols. The natural digestibility of brown rice coupled with the high fiber content can help sensitive digestive systems heal from an overgrowth of candida organisms. Finally, brown rice is simply delicious and a fantastic staple for both vegetarian and vegan diets. Brown rice can be used as a white rice alternative in most vegetarian recipes and provides a full, rich and somewhat nutty flavor. Brown rice flour can be used for vegetarian pancakes, breads and other baked goods. All in all, brown rice is clearly the healthy choice.

Organic Black Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on VegKitchen

11 Delicious Ways to Eat Black Beans

You’ll almost never find our kitchens without a can or two of black beans stocked in the pantry. This versatile ingredient can be used in so many different ways. From soups and chilis to enchiladas and salads, the recipes are seemingly endless. We chose our 11 favorite black bean recipes to get you started with something new.

(Image credit: Michaela Cisney)

1. Chilled Black Bean, Feta & Cucumber Salad

This is one of those salads that actually gets better with more time spent in the fridge to let the dressing work its magic. We recommend making a big batch over the weekend and enjoying it for lunches all week.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

2. Cuban Black Bean Soup

To make this soup the right way, use dried black beans and let them soak overnight. You’ll also want to give it ample time to cook on the stove, so really, it makes a better weekend recipe. Finally, don’t skimp on the vinegar — it’s what gives the soup that little extra kick.

(Image credit: Nick Evans)

3. Crunchy Black Bean Tacos

These pan-fried tacos are made with soft tortillas and are somewhere between a taco and a quesadilla. You can fill them with anything you want; they are a great way to use up a small amount of leftovers.

(Image credit: Megan Gordon)

4. Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Chili

While the options for vegetarian chili recipes are nearly endless, we’re partial to this one with sweet potatoes (or you could substitute butternut squash) and quinoa. Just remember — you might have to add a bit more water at the end since the quinoa will soak it up.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

5. Slow-Cooker Black Bean Enchiladas

Slow-cooker enchiladas are a bit magical. They might not be the prettiest meal on the block, but they are one of the tastiest. Plus, they are easily adaptable, so you can basically clean out your fridge and end up with a mouth-watering meal.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

6. Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup

The secret to the subtly smoky flavor of this black bean soup? The single piece of bacon it’s cooked with. It takes a quick weeknight staple to a whole new level.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

7. Kale and Black Bean Tacos with Chimichurri

No, chimichurri wasn’t originally intended for vegan tacos, but the garlicky sauce adds a whole new dimension to these tasty tacos. Of course, the big chunks of avocado and sautéed kale don’t hurt either.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

8. Baked Black Bean and Avocado Burritos

Somewhere between a burrito and an enchilada, these avocado and black bean delights reside. You can play around with additional fillings, like sautéed peppers or greens; make sure you taste-test the filling to get the spices to your liking.

(Image credit: Joanna Miller)

9. Vegetarian Black Bean Espresso Chili

It can be hard to get that rich, meaty taste in a vegetarian chili, but the addition of instant espresso powder adds a depth that most vegetarian chilis lack. Try making this version, or adding a little espresso powder to your own favorite chili recipe to get the full effect.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

10. Southwestern Pizza with Black Beans and Corn

One of our favorite unexpected black bean recipes is this Southwestern pizza. In place of traditional red sauce is a black bean mash. The whole pizza gets topped with corn, peppers, and a healthy dollop of avocado cream.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

11. Avocado Lime Black Beans

We call this the can-o’-beans lunch. It takes almost no time to make, and can be eaten for a couple days in a row for lunch. You can also dress it up with a few other freshly chopped veggies and make it into a delicious side dish.

Organic Black Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on The Kitchn

Taste Test: Shin Ramyun Instant Noodles

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[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

As a kid, my sisters and I would spend our Saturdays expanding our minds, honing our hand eye coordination, and discovering the meanings of discipline, hard work, and lost childhood through the Tiger Mom-approved double-header of Japanese school and music school. It was a grueling eight hour schedule that left me with about an hours’ worth of free time in the middle of the day, during which I’d catch up on cartoons or football with my dad while making myself lunch. Sometimes this meant frozen chicken pot pies or pastrami sandwiches from the deli down the street. More often than not, this meant instant ramen.

I wasn’t a ramen prescriptivist, but my selection usually landed upon either Myojo Chukazanmai, a premium Japanese brand, or on Shin Ramyun, the Korean brand of instant noodles flavored with beef and chili. Its fierce heat and intense saltiness has earned it some rabid followers—it was the number one response when I asked people to name their favorite ramen brand over Twitter, and it’s one of the best selling non-Japanese brands around, available in over 80 countries.

For two and a half decades since its introduction in 1986, Shin Ramyun was available in only two forms: in a packet, and in a cook-in-the-container styrofoam cup. In 2011, they introduced Shin Black, the premium version of their traditional ramen.

We tasted all four options to see how they stacked up.

BLACK VS. STANDARD

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Straight out of the package, there’s a pretty clear difference between the Shin Black and the standard cup: the Black version contains one extra seasoning packet. Rather than the straight-up mix of beef extract, chili, and vegetables that you get in the standard, the Black comes with one packet of chili mix, and another which has a beef and anchovy soup base.

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The dehydrated vegetable packet in the Black is also larger and contains bigger chunks of mushrooms, scallions, and peppers. With the packet version of Black, the vegetable mix also includes slices of dehydrated beef. More on that in a moment.

OVERALL WINNERS: EITHER RAMYUN FROM A PACKET

While tasters were divided on how the broth and noodles in the standard Shin Ramyun compared to the premium Black version, there was one clear consensus: the ramyun that comes out of packets and gets cooked in a pot is superior to the cup-style. It makes perfect sense. With the former, you’re cooking the noodles at a fast boil; with the latter, you’re steeping them like tea.

The ingredient labels on the packets reflect a difference in formulation for the noodles as well, perhaps in order to compensate for this difference in cooking method.

Overall, tasters found the packet noodles to be bouncier and more like real noodles, though Max was the lone exception in enjoying the thinner, softer noodles in the standard Shin Cup (“If you’re not going to get great noodles anyway, you might as well get ones that are better at absorbing sauce,” was his reasoning).

The soup bases for the packet-based soups were also superior. It’s tough to decipher from the ingredients lists what made them better, but they were richer, fuller, and slightly more “natural” tasting. Soups from the cups were labeled as “harsh,” “aggressive,” and “artificial.” Not so bad that we wouldn’t eat them, mind you, but enough that taking the time to make the packet-based version is a no-brainer.

Interestingly, cost had virtually nothing to do with our preferences. When you buy the make-in-the-cup style ramyun, you pay double the cost for the convenience of not having to use a regular pot. Similarly, the Black versions of both the cup and packet soups cost twice as much as the standard. All told, people were pretty evenly split on naming the $.24/ounce standard Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup packets and the $.47/ounce Shin Ramyun Black Premium Noodle Soup packets as the winners.

Here are some more tasting details.

SHIN RAMYUN NOODLE SOUP PACKET ($.24/OUNCE)

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This is the classic flavor of my youth. Salty and spicy with a mild ocean aroma and bits of rehydrated shiitake mushroom and scallion floating in a thin but flavorful broth. The noodles are better than your average packet of ramen (I’d put them on par with our top-rated Sapporo Ichiban), but by no means mind-blowing. As Jamie put it, this is something “I’d want when I was sick.”

Max, on the other hand, says that he’d “like to dip [his] dosas in it.” I’m not quite sure what that means and I’m a little scared to find out.

SHIN RAMYUN BLACK PREMIUM NOODLE SOUP PACKET ($.47/OUNCE)

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The first thing you’ll notice when comparing the Black version to the standard is the larger chunks of vegetables. Real-sized slices of shiitake mushroom and slivers of hot chili peppers float around the opaque, mildly creamy broth. The front of the package shows thick slices of real beef. What we get instead are these little nubbins:

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Sort of like the bits you find at the bottom of a bag of beef jerky that you resort to eating when you’re at mile 169 of a road trip and the real food ran out a few miles past the last rest stop. We could’ve just as soon done without them.

The broth for the Black contains dehydrated beef stock and anchovies in addition to the “beef extract” and “beef fat” that flavors the standard version, creating a more subtle, balanced broth. It’s heartier, but also milder. If you’re looking for more of a salt and spice punch, the standard packet is the way to go.

SHIN CUP NOODLE SOUP ($.47/OUNCE)

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The overall loser, the Shin Cup had both the thinnest, harshest broth, as well as super-thin, soggy noodles that are very similar in texture to those you’d find in other cup brands like Nissin’s Cup Noodles. The dehydrated vegetables were also the smallest—little bits of scallion, hot pepper, and shiitake mushroom add a bit of interest, but not much. As far as instant soups go, we wouldn’t kick this one out of bed, but we wouldn’t feel the need to put on a new shirt before meeting it at a bar either. Even if we’d spilled some ramen on the old one.

SHIN CUP BLACK PREMIUM NOODLE SOUP ($.89/OUNCE)

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A big step up in noodle and broth quality from its less premium cousin. The label on the top of the box claims that the Shin Black Cup is “Spicy Pot-Au-Feu Flavor,” though an examination of the ingredients doesn’t reveal anything special as far as unique flavorings go. Like the Black packet version, the Black Cup has a creamier, milder broth with a more “real” flavor, though this guy doesn’t have the dehydrated beef chips you’ll find in the packet version. No big loss.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at@thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

Shin Ramyun Noodle is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Serious Eats

Health Benefits of Black Sesame Seeds

Health Benefits of Black Sesame Seeds

Overview

Sesame seeds are so nutritious that you might not want to wait until your next visit to the bakery to eat the few that top your bagel. Sesame seeds are an excellent source of many essential minerals as well as a very good source of vitamin B1 (thiamin) and dietary fiber. The nutrients found in sesame seeds may contribute to cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, support respiratory health, protect against colon cancer and osteoporosis as well as other conditions. Depending upon the variety, sesame seeds come in many different colors, including white, yellow, black and red.

Many Major Minerals

Black sesame seeds are an excellent source of magnesium and calcium. A 1/4 cup serving of provides 126 mg of magnesium, or 32 percent of the Recommended Daily Value (DV), and 351 mg of calcium (35 percent of the DV). That’s slightly more than you find in a cup of milk, however, the calcium is located in the hull of the seeds, so hulled versions offer much less calcium.

Magnesium and calcium are important essential minerals that help regulate blood pressure, reduce the likelihood of developing tension and migraine headaches (triggered by blood vessel spasms), reduce the occurrence of airway spasms in asthmatics and regulate sleep patterns, especially in women suffering from menopause-induced sleep disturbances.

Essential Trace Minerals

A 1/4 cup serving of black sesame seeds provides almost 1.5 milligrams (mg), or 74 percent of the DV, for the trace mineral copper, and 2.8 mg (about 19 percent of the DV) for zinc. These minerals are needed in very small quantities, but are essential for human health. Copper plays a role in the anti-inflammatory process which is beneficial for reducing some of the swelling and pain characteristic of inflammatory diseases. Copper also is needed to activate an enzyme necessary for building collagen and elastin, which provide structure and elasticity to bones and joints.

Low dietary intakes of the trace mineral zinc (low circulating levels in the bloodstream) is associated with a depressed immune system as well as loss of bone and decreased bone density of the hip and spine. Consuming zinc-rich foods, such as black sesame seeds, reduces the risk of suffering from bone fractures caused by reduced bone density (common among the elderly) or osteoporosis. Optimal zinc intake may reduce the frequency and length of the common cold because it keeps the immune system healthy.

Tiny Cholesterol Fighters

Black sesame seeds help lower serum cholesterol levels (which contributes to cardiovascular health) in several ways. They contain two unique substances known as sesamin and sesamolin. These substances belong to a group of fibers called lignans (flaxseeds are another rich source of lignans). Lignans are rich in dietary fiber and have a cholesterol-lowering effect.

Black sesame seeds are rich in phytosterols. Phytosterols are plant compounds very similar in structure (chemical) to cholesterol. Consuming more dietary phytosterols not only decreases blood cholesterol levels but reduces the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Sesame seeds offer the highest phytosterol content (400 to 413 mg per 100 grams or 3.5 ounces) of all nuts and seeds.

Organic Black Sesame Seeds is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on LIVESTRONG.COM

NYC Guide to Koreatown’s Best Food

Korean BBQ, soon tofu, hot stone bowls, and ho-dduk…it’s hard to pick just one favorite when talking about Korean cuisine. Fortunately, New York City’s Koreatown has them all for you, and then some! Rounded up below are our top five picks for dining in NYC’s Koreatown, so if you find yourself in the neighborhood, be sure to bring an appetite.

Best of NYC Koreatown: BCD Tofu House

BCD Tofu House

While BCD Tofu House has a decently sized Korean menu, it’s the soon tofu that you come here to order. BCD offers ten unique soon tofu dishes that include traditional Korean options such as kimchi, dumpling, and soybean paste and more diverse seafood options with shrimp, clam, and oyster. The restaurant is also loved for their soon tofu combo deals that include your choice of spicy pork, spicy BBQ chicken, spicy raw crab, Atka mackerel, and other entrees accompanied by the Assorted Soon Tofu (beef, shrimp, clam). 5W 32nd St., 212-967-1900, bcdtofu.com

Best of NYC Koreatown: Woorijip Authentic Korean Food

Woorijip

Open until two and three in the morning, Monday through Saturday, Woorijip Authentic Korean Food will not let you down if you’re looking for some late-night grub. You’ll find just about every traditional Korean dish here, from kimchi fried rice and abalone porridge to fried flat fish and rolled egg pancakes. It’s hard to beat the prices here, and the self-service atmosphere makes for a quick grab and go experience that is perfect for when you’re on the move. 12 W. 32nd St., 212-244-1115, woorijipny.com

Best of NYC Koreatown: miss KOREA BBQ

Miss Korea BBQ

All of the dishes at miss KOREA BBQ have been delicately crafted by renowned Korean food consultant Chef Sun Kyu Lee, and you can taste it in everything from the signature clay pot galbi’s flavor (marinated for over 48 hours) to the black pork belly entrée and organic tofu soup starter. Of course, you can’t come here and not order Korean Barbecue, which you cook to your own liking at your own table. Meat combos can be ordered so that you can enjoy beef short rib, spicy pork belly, chicken, and the like all in one go. 10 W. 32nd St., 212-736-3232, misskoreabbq.com 

Best of NYC Koreatown: Hangawi

Hangawi

Hangawi describes itself as “a vegetarian shrine in another place and time”, and with its traditional shoes-off, floor-seating setup, you can bet that it’s just that. Don’t let the vegetarian menu scare you off if you’re a meat-lover, because you’ll be missing out if you do. The rice and vermicelli noodle stone bowls are filled with the likes of spicy kimchi, avocado, gingko nuts, and ginger, providing you with all the flavor you could ever ask for. The Mushroom Sizzler in a Hot Pot and Spicy Rice Cakes are also local favorites. 12 E. 32nd St., 212-213-0077, hangawirestaurant.com

Best of NYC Koreatown: Grace Street

Grace Street

If you’re grabbing dinner in Koreatown, always leave some room for Grace Street. This Korean coffee and bakeshop is always bustling, and there are a few things on the menu that are must-tries. The Ho-Dduk is one of them, a Korean donut that is made from soft, pillow-like dough filled with melted brown sugar, chopped walnuts, and cinnamon. Grace Street is also well known for their Shave Snow, which comes in Green Tea, Toasted Black Sesame, and other rotating flavors. 17 W. 32nd St.

This article is originally posted on NYC’s Original City Guide

12 Korean Snacks You Absolutely Have To Try

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

All these snacks can be found at your nearest Asian supermarkets and sometimes even in the “Asian foods” section of American grocery stores.

1. Shrimp Snacks (saeoo snek)

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

These chips are one of the most popular snacks in Korea. Despite their simple ingredients — flour, oil, and starch — the actual shrimp seasoning makes these unique. It gives them a light flavor similar to Old Bay seasoning. Although they’re shaped like french fries, these are super airy and light, like rice crackers.

What it tastes like: If Veggie Sticks had a fishy flavor.

 

2. Korean Rice Crackers (ssal ro ppung)

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

This is like the Korean version of a Rice Krispy treat, except way less sugary and not nearly as bad for you. Made with real puffed rice, these lovely rolls are a perfect hand-held snack to satisfy a sweet craving without feeling too guilty afterwards.

Fun fact: the word “ppung” is the sound of an explosion like “pop.”

What it tastes like: Honey Smacks.

 

3. Crab Chips (kkotgae snek)

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

Topped with crab seasoning, these chips are similar in texture and flavor to the shrimp chips. However, these have a slightly sweet flavor as well.

What it tastes like: If Popchips came in Old Bay Seasoning flavor.

 

4. Korean Sweet Cakes (chapsal yakgwa)

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

Yakgwa is a very traditional Korean cake made mainly from honey, sesame oil, and wheat flour. These taste a bit like donuts, so obviously they’re delicious.

What it tastes like: Glazed donuts.

 

5. Ginger Flavored Crackers (saenggang maht junbyung)

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

These traditional “crackers” are also more like cookies. Once your tongue is past the sugar and ginger, you’ll find these have a pleasantly sweet flavor.

What it tastes like: Ginger coated fortune cookies.

 

6. Traditional Korean Crackers With Laver Flavor

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

Although these guys are labeled as crackers, they’re actually more sweet than savory. They contain “laver” (aka seaweed) which gives a natural salty hint to each cracker and also a very unique flavor.

What it tastes like: Fortune cookies laced with seaweed.

 

7. Azuki Bean Rice Ball Snacks (injulmi rice ball)

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

These puffy rice balls have the consistency of Utz Cheese Balls, but are actually sweet. There is a particular flavor on the outside as well from the “injeolmi” seasoning which creates a flavor like these popular Korean rice cakes.

What it tastes like: Peanut Butter Crunch.

8. Pumpkin Monaca, Baked Biscuit (hobak monaka)

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

The outside is rice based, but the inside is a sweet, thick paste-like center made from pumpkin powder and flavoring. The filling is very sweet, so you really only need one at a time, which is probably why these come individually wrapped!

What it tastes like: thick pumpkin jam.

 

9. Chocolate Corns

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

These corn-based snacks are basically a sweet, chocolatey version of cheese puffs, however they are pretty much on the opposite end of the flavor spectrum. These are sweet, not salty, and chocolatey, not cheesy.

What it tastes like: Cocoa Puffs.

 

10. Sweet Red Bean Jelly (yanggaeng)

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

Red bean jelly and paste is a common ingredient in many Korean desserts. In this case you can buy it in pure bar form. It’s sweet, fat-free, low-calorie, and a healthier alternative to a candy bar. Sure, it may look like the “protein bars” in Snowpiercer, but I guarantee these are actually delicious.

What it tastes like: The center part of mochi ice cream.

 

11. Lotte’s Kancho Choco Biscuits

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

These button-sized cookies are lovely little morsels packed with milk chocolate. With a crumbly-cookie shell and milky chocolate center, these little bites of sweet cookie goodness are just the right amount of naughty.

What it tastes like: Dunk-a-roos, without the dunking.

 

12. Pepero White Cookie Sticks

Macey J. Foronda / BuzzFeed

If you’ve ever had Pocky, then you’ll have an idea what you’re in for. This is a thin, cookie stick dipped in white chocolate and chocolate cookie crumble. What’s not to love?

Fun Fact: Lotte is a mega retailer in Korea, in fact they even have a theme park called Lotte World in Seoul.

What it tastes like: Oreo cookies and white chocolate.

 

Most of Korean Snacks can be purchased at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Buzz Feed

Bulgogi (Korean Grilled Beef)

Bulgogi, a Korean classic of marinated grilled beef, is easy to make and fun to eat; it’s no wonder it is one of the country’s most successful culinary exports. As with most Korean barbecue, the meat is seasoned with sesame and scallion, and has ripe pears in the marinade to tenderize the meat and add a characteristic sweetness. Round, pale yellow Asian pears are traditional, but Bosc pears are just fine.

The meat is only half the recipe: Just as important are the crunchy vegetables, pungent herbs and savory sauces that all get wrapped together into delicious mouthfuls. Perilla is a common Korean herb in the mint family, but if you cannot find it, you can try other herbs like shiso or cilantro. Make sure to wrap your bundle tightly: According to Korean tradition, you must finish it in a single bite!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound well-marbled, boneless sirloin, tenderloin or skirt steak
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 cup peeled, chopped ripe Asian or Bosc pear
  • ¾ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar or honey
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

PREPARATION

  1. Wrap beef in plastic wrap or butcher paper and place in freezer for 1 to 2 hours to firm up.
  2. Cut beef across the grain into thin slices. If cooking in a skillet, slices should be less than 1/8 inch thick; do not worry if they are a bit ragged. If cooking on the grill, uniform slices, 1/8-inch thick, are best.
  3. In a food processor, combine garlic, pear, onion and ginger and process until very smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.
  4. In a bowl or sealable plastic bag, combine steak, marinade, scallion, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and pepper and mix well. Cover or seal, then refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  5. When ready to cook and serve, prepare garnishes. Lettuce leaves should be mounded in a large basket or platter; small dishes can hold remaining garnishes. Keep vegetables cold.
  6. If using a cast-iron grill pan or large skillet, heat over high heat. Add all the meat and its juices to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until most (but not all) of the liquid has evaporated and the meat begins to brown around the edges. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately, directly from the skillet (this will keep the meat hot). If using a charcoal or gas grill, heat to high. Working in batches if necessary, place the sliced meat on the grill and cook, turning often, just until cooked through and browned, about 2 minutes. If desired, heat an empty cast-iron skillet and use as a serving dish; this will keep the meat hot. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

TO SERVE:

  1. To eat, lay a lettuce leaf open on your palm. Add a perilla leaf (if using), a small lump of rice, 1 or 2 pieces of meat and any other garnishes on top, then dab with sauce. Wrap by lifting up the edges of the lettuce leaf, then twisting them together to make a tight bundle. Eat each bundle in one bite, according to Korean tradition.

 

Most of ingredents can be purchased at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on New York Times

Samgyang Food’s “Fire Noodles” Become Popular Overseas

Buldak Bookeum Myun, affectionately nicknamed "Fire Noodles" in English.

Buldak Bookeum Myun, affectionately nicknamed “Fire Noodles” in English.

Samyang Food’s Buldak Bokkeum Myun, which records monthly sales of 6 to 7 billion won (US$5.56 to 6.49 million), is getting popular not only in the domestic market but also globally.

In February last year, a British man by the name of Josh filmed and posted a video clip on YouTube titled Buldak Bokkeum Myun Challenge in London with his friends. The clip showed the reactions of British people after they tried Buldak Bokkeum Myun. It had been posted on the YouTube and went viral.

On Jan. 14 of this year, Josh uploaded the new clip titled Buldak Bokkeum Myun Challenge in the US, which shows reactions of Americans after they tried the product during his U.S. road trip, attracting attention once again.

The product’s popularity is also spreading rapidly throughout the markets of Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, the company said. Stir-fried noodles without broth are very common in Southeast Asia, so Buldak Bokkeum Myun fits right in.

In Indonesia, when people eat fried foods, they have it with Cabe, which is similar to the Chungyang Red Pepper, and Sambal sauce, which is similar to Korean red pepper paste. Since they have a food culture accustomed to spicy foods, it was even easier for Buldak Bokkeum Myun to advance into local stores.

Samyang Food obtained a halal certificate for Buldak Bokkeum Myun in November last year, and the company is making every effort to open up more markets to Muslim countries.

 

Buldak Bokkeum Myun is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Business Korea