Thanks so much, everyone. ;o)
I'm not familiar with that paste. My Chinese Aunt told me to get tian mian jiang, which is a Chinese fermented soybean paste.
What are you making?? :)
I think all the brands sold in America are pretty much equal and don't really stand out from each other. I usually buy ??? (Chung Jung Won) at the Korean grocery store.
I use it in everything. I mean, everything. Well, just about everything savory. It's like miso, but tastes more interesting, to my mind. And the kind I've been using is much less salty than any miso I've ever bought. It's become my favorite secret weapon. Examples of recent uses: barley and mushroom vegan stew made with red wine and various veggies; wssmom's really tasty Miserly Miso Mushrooms Soup; several different tofu dishes on FOOD52 that call for miso; red lentil dals; etc., etc. You can't actually taste it, per se, when you put a tablespoon or so into a soup or stew. It just gives the dish an amazing umami lift. Am just finishing the small tub purchased at my local Korean grocer a few weeks ago; so I'm wondering if people who regularly buy it have a favorite brand. ;o) P.S. Will keep my eye out for tian mian jiang next time I'm at the Chinese grocer. Thanks for the tip!
My slight experience with the Korean pastes meant spending a good while reading the labels at H Mart, where there are many brands to choose from. Without knowledge from experience, I looked for brands that had less sodium, sugar and no wheat. ...that includes the pepper paste, which can include the latter two -- so, I try to find a brand that meets my own biases while still being authentic.
As does susan g, I buy this stuff at H Mart. But I can't recommend a brand because I can't read the labels. So I ask somebody who looks Korean (invariably helpful)if this is what I'm looking for. Damn, I love Koreans! Wish I could read the language. But I'm working on the "politeness" words, like "please" and "thank you". I'm having trouble pronouncing them correctly.