Mom’s Taste: Banchan Paradise

8 Oct

I am picky about Korean food.

When we moved to our sleepy suburban neighborhood in DFW, it was strip mall typical with a dash of bland.  But over the few years we lived there, something unexpected happened.  First the signs on all the area churches became bilingual, then a couple of Korean BBQ restaurants arrived to feed the hungry after church crowd, and finally when Texas’ first H-Mart opened down the street (and anchored a shopping center full of Korean restaurants), it was official: we became Korean food snobs of non-Korean origin.

Fast forward to a uneventful weeknight in our little Austin bungalow, the weather is getting cooler outside and we’re jonesing for a sizzling bowl of dolsot bibimbap or a fiery pot of soondubu, a dozen or so banchan on the side wouldn’t hurt.  Quick Googling turns up a promising eatery inside the New Oriental Market as a suitable choice for authentic Korean in Austin.  But the flavorless meat and mounds of iceberg lettuce (yes, iceberg lettuce!) in the bibimbap and mushy rice noodles in the jap chae disappointed.  We needed something else to satisfy this Korean fix and we needed it quick.

Tucked away in a nondescript strip mall between a martial arts studio and a travel agency, Mom’s Taste is a pint-sized specialty market selling pre-made banchan, soups and stews, marinated bulgogi meat, frozen dumplings, and other Korean staples.  All the prepared and semi-prepared dishes are homemade fresh by the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Lee, in the back of the market.  The scrolling marquee sign outside the store cycles between Korean text and the only English words, “Mom’s Taste.”  So be on the lookout, otherwise you might miss this little gem.  For a photo tour inside the market, check out this wonderful post from Boots in the Oven.

A $5 portion of marinated pork bulgogi (serves 2-3) and a few banchan sides ($3-$5 each) made a dinner that satisfied our cravings, finally.

Pork bulgogi (over steamed brown rice):

Oyee kimchi (spicy, sweet, and sour baby cucumbers):

Kongjaban (sweet black beans):

Odeng (fish cake):

All signs point to this pair of food fanatics becoming regular customers of Mom’s Taste.

Mom’s Taste Korean Specialty Market
6613 Airport Blvd
Austin, TX 78752

(Google Map)

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