Korean pears in the U.S.: An expensive taste of Korea
As many of you who watch my cooking videos and have have started to read this blog know, I love Korean pears. You also probably know of my antipathy for the American-grown versions as well. Even the Asian pears at grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s and most of the farmers’ markets don’t have nearly the flavor of these Korean beauties.
I was so happy when my Korean grocer (who knows me by name but never calls me by it) got his new shipment of Shingo pears directly from Korea this past week. I was so happy, I bought a box rather than one or two at at time like I usually do. The box cost $27.99 for seven pears, which according to the currency exchange on Sept. 27, was 33,207 won.
But take a close look at how they’re packaged. First, notice the outer cardboard lid. It was sturdy enough to hold up my 10-pound cat, which decided to jump up on it to satisfy her curiosity. (That photo will be posted in the near future.) It has to be sturdy to survive being shipped across the Pacific.
Second, there’s a small layer of plastic foam. You can see it peaking out a little bit in the photo above this paragraph. My kitty tried to paw at it, but she wasn’t able to vanquish the box.
Underneath the layer of foam are the prized pears, which are also individually coddled in woven foam wraps and little trays as well to protect them as they traveled from Korea to the other side of the world. They must be packaged with such care because these pears have very delicate, thin skin and they bruise easily. This is why Shingo pears are so costly.
Their destiny is to play center stage in my Korean barbecue recipes as well as being sliced and served on their own to highlight their tastiness. These beautiful Shingo pears are good ambassadors of Korean cuisine.