Friday, July 2, 2010

The Costco Caper and Onions Galore

Last weekend Kate and I took the train to Costco, which seemed to take forever because we had to transfer 3 times. I said we should take the rolling luggag to cart back groceries, but Kate said she didn't think we would need them so I grabbed my durable costco bag and headed out the door. Apparently Kate forgot how much we both like to shop. Needless to say we should have brought the suitcase. There were so many things I missed that i didn't know I missed until we were strolling down the towering aisles.  Costco is an overwhelming commerce experience. I had never been while living in the states, so when we entered the buy-in-bulk metropolis(which by the way, Koreans supposedly don't like) I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people and the special needs logic of people steering their over sized carts. Why is it that there were proper traffic jams in 10ft wide aisles? Six peoples' carts can fit across, so why is no one moving? Ahhhh...Kate took me aside " Tiffany, relax, remember it's still Korea!"  as she maneuvered us  through the cluster-fuck of carts I was grateful, that she was there. There were families with multiple carts, parents who converted carts into nap time carriages for their small children, as well as play pens. I could tell they were Costco for the long haul by the snack bags and water bottles in their carts. I had only planned to get a few things. What had I gotten myself into?
Kate had once told me about the Pizza at Costco. So I was very excited to have pizza that tasted like home. Apparently Koreans LOVE the Costco pizza too! The Food court was packed and buzzing with crying babies, yelling adjummas, snacking families, and hungry foreigners. In true Korean style the seating area was only big enough to accommodate about a quarter of the people buying food. Mothers watched closely, hovering over tables, waiting for an opening , then swooping down on the limited seating, while fathers had the arduous task over ordering and  then finding their way through the masses with their family's meal. Not enough seats for your family.... No problem. Feeding order: Children, Adjummas, Fathers, then doting Mothers. Eating in shifts? What's that? DPRK is that you?
Not only were pizzas being slung into carts in the food court left and right ,but hotdogs wrapped in foil moved so swiftly, I thought I might have an epileptic seizure from all the foil being thrown about. People were pushing a shoving making their way to the coveted condiment corner. I wasn't sure what all the fuss was about , but then I saw the Holy Grail of the Korean Costco food court... The Onion Dispenser! Koreans were lined up with plates in anticipation of turning the wheel clockwise( as it says on the dispenser )and recieving a pile of scumptious onion goodness. Koreans are serious about their onion game. While sitting at the table with Kate enjoying my pizza I couldn't help but stare at the onion phenomena, countless hands mixing enormous piles of onion with ketchup, mustard, relish, and hot sauce and subsequnetly shoveling  large fork fulls into their mouths. And I thought I liked onions! The family across from me ordred onions with a side of hotdog. There were more condiments on their hotdogs than actual hotdog. Are onions the new kimchi? But the onions, like most things  in Korea, Go HARD or Go Home!

Confucius says: Beware of Korean adjumma's tales about not shopping in bulk, don't take the last 70lb bag of rice she might go hulk.

1 comment:

  1. The Costco eatery kind of terrifies me. I'd rather skip it and save fighting over limited table space. You're right about the onions, though-- last time we were there my friend was so taken with them that she filled a cup and carried them around the store with her!