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.