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I was soooooo excited when I heard there was a Lotte Mart here in Chengdu--two in fact! Lotte Mart is a huge Korean department/grocery chain where I used to shop frequently. I was psyched to load up on healthy Korean food so I could return to a mainly vegetarian-based diet. I find eating Korean cuisine tasty and healthy: lots of healthy grains, tons of seaweed and greens, and fermented soy paste. My idea Korean "fast food" is boiling a pot of water, adding a ton of seaweed and soybean paste, and sometimes noodles and fish. Healthy, quick, fast dinner when I don't want to cook. Although I love the flavor of Sichuan food, I am finding it is very meat- and oil-based and I don't care to eat much of either, at least not daily...not even weekly. My digestive system doesn't care for all the grease or meat either.
I arrive at Lotte, find a lot of Korean cosmetic items... and one type of pre-packaged ramen. :-( No mass variety of Korean food at all, it's all Chinese. While I like Chinese, I don't yet know how to cook it. So, back to Ito Yokado, the Japanese grocery store, where I can find lots of "prepared" food (like healthy soup-base veggies and spices all cut up) and seaweed with which I am familiar. Although it tasted fine in my soup, the dried seaweed here has an odor that I can't quite adjust to, and it puts me off. So, back to eating out and trying to find vegetarian meals (no luck there, LOL). I'm sure I had the same issue in Korea, until I adjusted to the food. In fact, when I moved there, I had to a more meat than desired in my diet for a while. Of course, it's easy to pick up healthy Korean street food there, while here, it is all fried and/or meat-based. While really disappointed, like "a whole Lotte" of disappointed, I'll try the newer Lotte at the giant Global Center (without expectations) and go back to Ito. The good news is: I met some gals in a girls WeChat group who like Korean, so we will go out for it soon. Plus, one of my new friends has two Korean roommies, so maybe they can help.
Oh well, sigh.