Saturday, July 11, 2009

Machinery at E-Mart

Prepackaged and instant foods are a relatively recent phenomenon to the Korean housewife--she grew up with outdoor markets and roadside vendors, which are of course still around today. The popular E-Mart supermarket/department store chain is only 15 years old.

And in order to make inroads with the adjumma, they must combine modern efficiencies with a flavor of traditional market freshness. One aspect of this strategy is a number of processing machines found right inside the store. Below is the red ginsing extractor, for example:

Here is the rice milling machine:

Brown rice goes in ...

...milled white rice comes out

Here is a squid-prep apparatus. The lady is frying up raw squid in the George Foreman, then it will go through the roller device to be scored for easy shredding. Yumm!

Finally, two mahines that weren't operating today when I was wandering through. First is a garlic press:

Above is a seaweed, um, cooker, I guess. Sheets of seaweed go in one side, and then come out the other side a little darker. I suppose it's a sort of salamander. An adjumma feeds it at one end, and another stacks up the sheets that come out and slides them into packages.

There are in fact a few other devices like this in the store, preparing fresh processed foods, but they weren't out today, alas.


Anonymous said...

I've noticed a lot of foreigners writing "adjumma" but I'm not really sure where this came from as there's no "d" sounding character for the word in Korean. Spelling 아줌아 in Konglish as "ahjumma" would be much more appropriate. (Same goes for ahjusshi/ajusshi instead of adjusshi for 아저씨.) Just something random I've noticed.

Tuttle said...

Well, Anon--if that is your real name--you're right. The 아 sound is Ah and the ㅈsound is juh.

I don't pretend to understand the mysteries of Korean locution, BUT many Western ears seem to "hear" a hint of D in there, when the 아 is followed by the ㅈ, as you have noticed.

I won't try to defend the spelling, as I don't think any Romanization scheme will adequately capture the sounds of the Korean language. Incidentally, I've spelled it the other way, too...

Chris in South Korea said...

You say adjumma, I say ajumma, my friend says 'married Korean woman'... Like most other Romanization issues, this one falls into that category. No biggie.

Regarding the OP, nice article. I pass by the machines all the time and never gave them a second glance or thought. Usually they're just in the way of the bread, the eggs, the beer - but next time I'll be taking a closer look :)

SuperDrew said... be totally pedantic, if you want to correct someone's spelling, make sure you spell the word correctly yourself. It is 아줌마, not 아줌아.

By the way, Tuttle, I love how you refer to it as the 'George Foreman'. I wonder if he gets a commission!

Run With Kim said...

Very interesting machines...