new Korean market in the Sunset

Has anyone been to the Queens Korean market in the Sunset? It sounds wonderful!


I went yesterday, having only skimmed this Eater writeup. I was expecting like a version of Woori on Fillmore (which I like a lot) with a more modern interior. It is…not that.

The market is amazing but it is really not feasible for everyday shopping unless you are living on a tech salary. They have all these artisanal Koran fermented bean pastes and gochujangs to the tune of $35/pound, along with little packages of Korean herbal teas, dried seaweed, and all kinds of other stuff you don’t come across in larger stores. They make their own kimchis and have banchan delicacies I’d never seen before, like two large-ish prawns, probably raw and fermented, in a soy-based sauce ($49/pound - one package of two prawns was over $28). On the shelves were also huge, artisan-thrown Korean ceramic pickling crocks. I assume they were for sale (there was a little placard explaining their use and benefits) but I didn’t see a price tag, and was afraid to ask.

The reason I actually dropped in was to pick up some kimbap for a late lunch, but right now they are only making it twice a day (11 and 4 I think), and have been selling out of each batch within 45 minutes of making it. I am slightly relieved not to have seen what it would have cost. FWIW, I did appreciate that the (mostly organic I think) produce and the handful of big-brand items like Pulmuone tofu were not grossly overpriced; I could see myself occasionally stopping by for those kinds of things in a pinch.


Couple of photos I took of the shrimp banchan and doenjang.

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Wow, that’s some expensive shrimp.

I’d be curious to try it. Most supermarket brands of gochujang have corn syrup. For $35/lb it’s gonna have to be a lot better than, say, higher end Mother-in-law brand, which for 10 oz. is under $10 at most places.

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I stopped in today to check it out and agree with your take - it’s a little precious. At 4:30 they did have a few containers of kimbap for $14 that looked good. I was hoping to buy some kimchi but strangley did not see any in stock. The pre-marinated bulgogi they sell to take home and cook was less than a pound at like $25. Why not just go out for Korean BBQ at those prices?

Are there a lot of Koreans who live in the neighborhood?

At these prices, why not just fly to Seoul and shop? :smile: Although I don’t know anything about artisanal Korean products so perhaps they are worth the price being asked for.

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Funny you say that because I’m not either and I had the same thought when I was looking at the products. So in fairness I don’t know if some of the condiments are rarely available anywhere else or if you could get them for half the price over on Clement Street.

I suspect you can’t find them in most other markets. That’s why I can’t hate what the proprietors are doing at Queens. They’re not trying to rip anyone off, they’re just stocking, and fairly pricing, the kind of very high-end products I unfortunately cannot afford.

A quick search of the kisoondo brand shows that these are premium products that command a high cost anywhere. The doenjang is aged for three years. These are apparently made by someone awarded some special status as a master artisan or whatnot in Korea. I might someday splurge on that doenjang, but not today. And instead of the $28 soy sauce, I bought a sempio brand chosun ganjang soy sauce for i think about $7 that is traditionally brewed and won’t make me feel like i have to measure each precious drop that i use.

I came here on the second day of opening and yes it is pricy, but i’ve been following their development for some time so i expected that. They were super friendly. I was given tastings of premium perilla oil, an untoasted and a toasted, and then one of the proprietors opened a bottle of the pricy sesame oil as well for me to taste. I did not buy these either, but i would consider doing so for gifts for my mom, for example, or if i ever have occasion to home cook something special that might benefit from being finished with these oils. And they were delicious! And while similar, perilla and sesame oil are not necessarily interchangeable. But yes for everyday use, i’ll stick to the more than decent available Korean and Japanese brands out there.

I bought some prepared foods, as well. For about $15 i got…well i’m not sure how much by weight (but it fed me twice) spicy pork bulgogi. I thought this was delicious, much less sweet than the vast majority of restaurant versions i’ve had, and lighter and spicier, i thought, with the addition of fresh chilies. Not heavy and thick with gochujang. More to my preference. I bought a small jar of jujube doenjang that i haven’t cooked with yet but i have smeared it on some fresh perilla leaves i bought there to eat as a kind of ssam. This was about $10. It’s good, with a slight sweetness from the jujube but this is still doenjang, so the saltiness and funk still dominate. Smallish jar of Napa cabbage kimchi i think was $10 or so too. Sorry i only have estimates for prices. These jars are stuffed with whole sections of cabbage, not cut into bite size. I removed the whole chunk myself and cut it up and stuffed it back in the jar for easy picking at. It’s good, more liquid than a lot of versions and still pretty fresh. I can tell there’s fresh chilies in there and a decent hit of ginger, too. We’ll see what it’s like when it ages a little. I also got a small amount of perilla leafs preserved in a soy brine (jangachi) that seems less salty and a little sweeter than more aggressively preserved versions i’ve had.

I picked up a few things i didn’t really need out of curiosity, like a small jar of one of the kinds of Korean honey (wild cherry, i think), some dried small red chilies with a Japanese name i can’t recall, some dried chwinamul or i think botanically its called aster scaber. I really don’t know why i bought the small bag of Korean flour, but i want to see if it makes any difference in homemade noodles, dumpling skins, things like that.

So I understand people are a little shocked by the prices, but they are stocking premium items and i don’t think they are misleading people or selling things at a falsely high price. I don’t know how often i’ll come here and what i’ll get when i do, but i like their well curated selection of items, that they have a small produce section with Korean and Asian veggies. Yes you can get many of these elsewhere, but they had three different varieties of large radish that day for example: the big Korean ones, a Japanese daikon variety with tiny beard like rootlets, and a long mostly jade green kind. I like the flavors of the prepared foods i’ve tasted so far. This will by no means become a regular part of even my monthly grocery shopping, but i’m glad they’re here and i wish them well.


I am curious- how does pricey sesame oil taste different from regular sesame oil?

I can’t remember the taste now, but I remember thinking it tasted lighter and cleaner more subtle than the usual kinds. Maybe less in your face (or in your nose I suppose) strong roasted flavors and odors. I also thought that any nuances I was tasting or smelling would be lost the second it came into contact with raw garlic, for example. Which in a korean kitchen? Often. Plus the everyday sesame oil I always have around is perfectly delicious. I guess it’s the same with olive oil, really. You CAN splurge on it. I don’t personally. But go ahead.

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Thanks. Maybe for people who adds it to salad. I typically use fish sauce and soy sauce to make a noodle soup broth from plain water if I don’t have stock, and use sesame oil to finish. So, sesame oil flavor to hot soup is going to ‘evaporate’ soon anyway so for sure for my application it wouldn’t make sense to go gourmet.