Last night, when we were in the E-Mart's basement grocery store.. which was a huge grocery store for Korea- but, just an average sized one in America.. there were tons of 'samples' to taste..just like you'd find in America.
I only tasted a few of the samples.. since, I don't like a lot of the Korean foods- but, what I tried was really good.. however, my friend Janie, who likes a variety of Korean foods, tried all of them.
Later we were in the produce department and I had noticed only one 'person offering' up a cooked sample. I didn't try it.. because it consisted of huge pices of mushroom, peppers and some onion. (I like mushrooms- but, not big huge hunks as big as a carrot).. so, I passed on this 'sample chance.'
Well, later I saw my friend Janie again and she was oohing and ahhing over the veggie stir-fry dish. She asked me if I'd tried it? I told her that I didn't- because I didn't like big huge hunks of mushrooms.. and she went back to try another sample. She couldn't get over the 'spices that they had used' in the dish and tried to talk me into 'trying a taste' but, I declined again after I got a closer look at the 'big as your little finger' pieces of sauted mushrooms. AND.. since, Janie loved the spices used in the dish so much...
She went back to see if she could find out what the spice was. There was another 'Korean shopper' there- who spoke a little English and Janie finally able to get both of them (the shopper and the 'sample offering' girl) to understand that she wanted to buy the spice/s that had been used in the stir-fry dish. So, it was decided the the 'other shopper' would lead us to the location of the 'special mystery spice.'
So, while pushing our shared shopping cart, we followed the 'other shopper.' The 'other shopper' continued to make her purchases as we followed her and we watched her closely to see what items she was putting her cart- to see if any of them looked like 'the mystery spice. We finally came to the spice aisle where the MOST WONDERFUL MYSTERY SPICE could be purchased.
The 'other shopper' looks around on both sides of the aisle and finally finds what we would need. She hands two spices to Janie and gestured that they are to be used together. I noticed that one had the words: BLACK PEPPER on the label in English.. so, I mentioned this to Janie and we gestured as best as we could.. 'that we already' had this spice at home.
So, under Janie's high recomendation about how wonderful this spice was -- I decided to purchase the $5.35(USA cost) spice too! I even mentioned that I would try the spice first and if it was as wonderful as Janie said.. that I'd return and buy another container for a friend in Texas who loves to cook.
So, the next morning, I unpacked my purchases and opened up the outer plastic covering on the $5.35 MYSTERY SPICE container. Then, I opened the lid to remove the inner plastic covering and I peered inside and thought to myself.. so, this is the wonderful, mystery spice.. that my friend Janie.. loved so dearly. I had already decided that I'd go to the grocery store that afternoon so the spice could be used to season a dish for dinner that night and I'd have left-overs for lunch at work.
AND after I removed the plastic seal.. I decided to lick the tip of my finger and I gingerly placed it in the 'mystery spice' and tasted it.. and..
I immediately called a friend in the states to share the 'secret of the mystery spice''.. yes, the mystery ingredients to the spice combo were: SALT and black pepper!
And now.. Yes, you too... can have this most mysterious spice mixture.. in your own kitchen.. if only you could buy: black pepper and salt to mix together. :D