Han Nam Supermarket (Deli)
106-4501 North Road
Bibimbap. Quite possibly the best known and also most tongue twisting dish in Korean cuisine. Its a simple one-bowl combination.
Comprised of a base layer of steamed white rice and topped with a colorful arrangement of sauteed vegetables, often some kind of meat (like sliced beef), a runny fried egg and seasoned with the deep flavored and spicy chili pepper paste better known as gochujang.
With its balanced arrangement, it has a very eye catching presentation despite its simplicity. But alas, that’s not where it ends. For you see, the bibim in bibimbap really means “to mix”. Combining all of these ingredients, their distinct textures and flavors, so that in each spoonful you get the complete package of tastes available is what makes this dish come to life.
Choices in the Park
6855 Station Hill Drive
Okay, I realize this isn’t exactly a post about a restaurant with full service but we’ve gone off the usual path in the past with reports about food counters, retail shops and general ramblings on topical food-related issues, so I’m sure you’re used to it if you’ve followed us along these past two-and-a-half years. Variety is the spice of life don’t they say? I’m certain that those of you who live in the GRVD that you are familiar with the small chain of natural and organic grocery stores known as Choices Markets. Actually, they even have a rice bakery on W 16th Avenue, that is just a block away from the Choices Market that I am most familiar and frequent in Kitsilano. For my daily grocery needs this purveyor of healthy, quality goods and food is my main source, and a big part of it is the satisfaction that I get from supporting the local player, and a 100% Canadian owned enterprise that is thriving despite the flood of the mass market chains such as Superstore and Safeway that dominate the family grocery landscape. Another aspect of their operations that I like is that despite the eight locations, of which I’ve hit several, they all “look” somewhat different from the outside, and don’t confirm to that dreadfully generic commercial building design code of boxy squares that seem to be pumped out of some construction replication machine and are given a distinct “name” for their location to further generate some individuality.
Now normally the Choices Markets are placed along side some more high-traffic roads that are easily seen and accessible by passing cars – which I assume is to entice more store visits and volume. However, the Choices in the Park location was completely different from this pattern, as it was hidden and nestled in a residential neighborhood, albeit not too far from a SkyTrain station. It clearly is intended to service the local populace and even their tiny parking lot that could probably hold eight cars at best would suggest that their main customers are of the walk-up variety. I’m sure there are other such grocery stores out there that fit this model of being primarily for the neighborhood, but I believe most of those are the mom-and-pop single operation type, not major commercial businesses such as this. Another quirky aspect of Choices that makes me like what they’re doing and their strategic decisions for their outlets. But enough about the hard side of things, let’s take a look at what you can get to eat – and not the stuff you have to cook yourself…