Kankoku Hiroba which translates to “Korean Plaza” is Japan’s biggest Korean grocery store supporting the culture of Korean residents in Japan. The store is lined with a vast selection from products like Kimchi, Kochijan, Makgoli, Korean seaweed and tons more and are said to have more than 2,000 kinds of Korean food. Mostlikely all essentials for Korean cooking can be found here and goods are imported directly from Korea. Not only food, but also Korean tableware and miscellaneous goods can be purchased here too.
Must Buy 3 Korean Food and Spices
There are many soups in Korean cuisine, such as sundubu and samgyetang. But making them may require time and need all the essentials. To cut to the point of eating, these Instant soups by bibigo is highly recommended. They offer different kinds of instant Korean soups from yukgaejang, sagol gomtang, doenjang jjigae and more which can be eaten just by heating them up.
Instant soup from bibigo
Alley of Korean soups from different brands
2) Essential Korean Spices
For over thousands of years, Koreans have perfected the art of preserving food and many of their side dishes are pickled, salted or fermented and are spicy. And these most common spices and sauces are important in Korean cuisine.
Chili pepper flakes (Gochugaru)
Gochugaru is made from coarsely ground sun-dried peppers without seeds, similar to red pepper flakes in texture. This spice is often used in kimchi, spicy Korean soups, sundubu jjigae and other spicy Korean side dishes. Often vibrantly red in color, gochugaru has a mild to moderate spicy taste with a hint of sweetness.
Chili pepper paste (Gochujang)
Gochujang is probably the most famous and a versatile spice in Korean condiments. It goes with dishes, soup, stew, main dishes, marinade, mostly any Korean dish you can think of. Made from Korean chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt, its spicy but has a subtle sweet note.
Spicy dipping sauce (Ssamjang)
Mostly accompanied with Korean BBQ, it's a simple, no-cook, stir-together dipping sauce typically made from doenjang, gochujang, sesame oil, onion, garlic, green onions etc. This dipping sauce is usually used for wraps as its package shows.
3) Korean Fish Sauce
To accelerate the fermentation process of kimchi, fish sauce is typically used. On some occasions, it is also used in Korean side dishes and soup/stew. There are different variations of fish sauce, ranging from Mulch Aecjeot (Anchovy sauce) to Kkanari Aecjeot (sand lance) and to Saeujeot (salted fermented shrimp). While both Mulch Aecjeot and Kkanari Aecjeot are both used as a secret ingredient for the deliciousness of kimchi, Mulch Aecjeot has a salty, savoury and slight sweet note. In comparison, Kkanari Aecjeot has less fishy flavor but similar in strength and flavor and are also used to season blanched or fried vegetables, soups and sometimes dipping sauces. On the other hand, Saeujeot is not really a “sauce” at all but rather used more as a condiment to wrap as it's a jar full of small shrimps.
Kkanari Aecjeot (sand lance) fish sauce
Saeujeot (salted fermented shrimp)
Mulch Aecjeot (Anchovy sauce)
The following are rarely seen in local Japanese markets and hard to find. However, it is sold at Kankoku Hiroba which are some of the locals’ favorites and might be something to try for.
Seasoned Spicy Perilla Leaves
Delicious and nutritious Korean traditional canned food, the pickled perilla leaves are marinated with spicy sauce and delicately seasoned with Sempio soy sauce, chili- pepper powder, and cheongyang pepper powder.
Korean Acorn Jelly (Dotori-muk)
Made from acorn starch, this jelly is light and flavourful with a hint of nutty and earthy taste. It is considered to be one of the healthy Korean side dishes. Adding a sauce made from Gochugaru will make this even better.
Yondu is a plant based versatile seasoning made from fermenting soybeans. This seasoning can be a flavor enhancer, substitute for certain ingredients, or it can be used to skip making broth from scratch.
Ginseng has been used as a herbal medicine for centuries in Chinese medicine. It has been used for improving overall health to strengthen the immune system and help fight off stress and disease. Some come as liquid, some as capsules and some even as powder. Not necessarily cheap, but trying one out when fatigued might be a plus.
Korean Green Chilli Pepper
Although there are many kinds of green chilli peppers in Korea ranging in different spiciness, the ones sold at Kankoku Hiroba look like long jalapeños, but they are pointier.
Not necessary for just Korean food, but compared to the ones sold at local Japanese supermarkets, this minced garlic keeps the granularity so it may be useful for using garlic in non-Korean cuisine as well.
Korean Instant Noodle
The best-selling Korean brand, NongShim makes many varieties and often Shin Ramyun is seen in most of the convenience stores and supermarkets in Japan. However, there are more to the series and at Kankoku Hiroba, many others can be purchased.
10 minutes walk from JR Shin-Okubo station
4 minutes walk from Higashi Shinjuku Station on Tokyo Metro Oedo and Fukutoshin Line
8:00am to 23:00 pmREAD MORE
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