#22 | Kimchi Jjigae, Yukgaejang, Phở, and Occasions
For months, we’d been craving kimchi jjigae—and not just any, but the one at A-Ri-Rang Oriental Market in Albuquerque’s far Northeast Heights. So when we found ourselves in the neighborhood just before the dinner hour, we pulled into their unassuming parking lot and slipped in, trying to prepare ourselves (as the pandemic has trained us to do) for the possibility that we would not be able to get the thing we most wanted.
Happily, the kitchen was open. As is customary, we shopped while waiting for our take-out order to be prepared. The sunset came into view as we stood at the register, the cashier kindly packing our instant noodles and snacks and house-made cucumber kimchi into a box.
The notion of kimchi stew might sound like too much—a whole soup from the stuff? But kimchi softens as it simmers, and the dish is every bit as comforting as a borscht.
Inspired by the recipe shared in our Noodles issue, we’d also added yukgaejang to our dinner order. Although this stew was far from vegetarian, the contrast in mouthfeel—the bean sprouts and fernbrake and beef in the yukgaejang sampled alongside the soft tofu and slow-cooked cabbage in the kimchi jjigae—called to mind sound advice when plotting a vegetarian takeover of the holiday table: don’t forget texture.
Speaking of soups, and textures: pick up our current issue wherever edible New Mexico is found—and a few new places too. Live out of state or just want to make sure you get every issue? Consider a subscription.
“But what, I asked myself, separates the phở that is fun from the phở you want to marry? What I found? Phở, really good phở, isn’t so much about the flavor. It’s about the feeling.” Ungelbah Dávila-Shivers breaks down the “phở feels”—and flavors—in a story that we predict will set you off onto a phở quest all your own.
Entrances & Exits
Turtle Mountain Brewing Company is very soon opening a second location in Enchanted Hills, at the far north of Rio Rancho. We forgive them in advance for offering fried pickle spears instead of fried pickle chips—but only because our sources assure us their pub fare is solid.
In other beer news, Downshift Brewing Company officially opened their taproom in Old Town at the end of November.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the Santa Fe Asian Market may open as soon as January and plans to carry “more than 800 types of items, including fish, pork, chicken, jasmine and sushi rice, seaweed, Asian produce, rice paper, preserved pickles, instant noodles, Asian sauces, ice creams and drinks.”
Amelia Salvadorian Food is serving pupusas with traditional Salvadorian ingredients like loroco, alongside New Mexico variations with green chile, at their newish food truck in Taos.
We can’t guarantee that any sessions will be available by the time you read this, but Sheehan Winery is hosting a backyard tasting at their South Valley winery today, December 18. The experience includes a barrel sample from this year’s harvest.
Humble Coffee and Moonwalk Bar are teaming up for the Humble Holiday Market today from 10 to 4 at 4200 Lomas NE in Albuquerque. Food trucks, sweet things, coffee, block party.
Food trucks will also be on hand today at ArtWalk Santa Fe, happening from noon to 5 pm at Teatro Paraguas’ 2nd Space.
Ever been curious to taste a piece of winter sky illuminated by the northern lights? Neither have we. But an evening at the Electric Playhouse in Albuquerque might change that, and there’s still time to catch the Winter in Technicolor immersive dining series before it ends December 31.
The Stakeout in Taos is hosting a five-course dinner party for New Year’s Eve. Chef Tyrell Brandvold is creating the menu. Reservations are required. Wine and cocktails optional. Sashes suggested . . .
“Let them eat caviar” is the theme at Hotel Chaco’s ten-course New Year’s Eve dinner in Albuquerque. Yes, foie gras is on the menu too.
And that is just the beginning of your options for New Year’s Eve (which also include curling up on the couch with your favorite herbal tea, which, as we recently learned, is not tea at all . . .)
“Instant noodles only get better when you doctor them up.” That would be the single point of consensus among eight purported noodle experts consulted for a “best instant noodles” roundup in New York Magazine. Given that, we’re not worried at all that the Omori Kimchi Stew Ramyun we picked up at A-Ri-Rang did not make the list.
Speaking of A-Ri-Rang, John Katrinak sang his praise for their buckwheat noodles after visiting last summer, before the dining room had reopened.
“You’re happy to fling dry Italian pasta in a pot of rumbling water with a simple red sauce, but where do we go with the awesome array of Asian noodles to be found at Albuquerque’s impressive number of Asian grocery spots?” Andrea Walker plunges into the local noodle aisle and comes up with a recipe for the aforementioned yukgaejang in our latest issue.
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