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Good Asian Grub: Fish Pancakes at Toreore in Super H-Mart

Hannah with a fish cake from at Toreore in Super H Mart.

D Magazine intern Carol Shih prowls Dallas in search of the best Asian cuisine. Recently she tried using sign language to speak with a Korean woman. Didn’t work. People are suspicious of writers these days.

When my college buddy Hannah visited last weekend, she dragged me to  Super H Mart in Carrollton to find her favorite Korean snack, bungeoppang (literal translation: carp bread), a rare treat in her home state of North Carolina. It took only a couple minutes for Hannah to spot the black appliance most street vendors in South Korea use to make this toasty fish pancake filled with red bean. Our stop: a little shop on the edge of the food court that spells out “Toreore” in red letters and sells “Chicken & Joy.”

Jump for joy.

Joy doesn’t even begin to describe the range of feelings Hannah felt as we watched a Korean lady pour batter into the waffle iron-esque pan, fill it with red bean paste, and turn the whole thing over. Two minutes passed for our fish pancakes to toast. They were agonizing for Hannah, who recounted her childhood memories in South Korea cradling hot bungeoppang with her two hands during cold seasons. She almost had me weeping with nostalgia. Her nostalgia.

Korean woman making fish cakes at at Toreore in Super H Mart.

When the bungeoppang was ready, we opened our brown paper bag and gingerly held a warm fish in each of our hands.

“Carol, you can’t bite it from the tail-end first!” Hannah said. Oh, brother. This is just like that time when kids ragged on me for stuffing a whole Oreo in my mouth without licking the cream. Everyone has a personal way of eating iconic foods. I had already bitten through the tail, though, and was working my way up when red bean paste oozed out of its crispy pocket, still gurgling and smelling like the bakeries of sweet, sweet Asia.

This bungeoppang is one of the best treats I’ve tasted in America for a long time. With a crunchy encasement on the outside and a spongy, moist pancake on the inside, my stomach couldn’t be happier.

When I went back to H-Mart for my second round of fish pancakes and to ask the owner of Toreore a few questions, I encountered the same Korean woman who produced our first batch. For five minutes we tried using sign language to communicate (there wasn’t a single English-speaking person within thirty feet), and even after

"Stuffing" fish cakes with red bean paste.

I enlisted two random women to help me translate, I was told to just “look up bungeoppang on a website” and that she wouldn’t “reveal her recipe because it is secret.”

What a tough crowd.

Language aside, just hand the Korean lady three dollars, point to the black waffle iron and she’ll make you three piping-hot pancakes. No English or Korean is necessary.

Toreore (inside Super H Mart)
2625 Old Denton Rd
Carrollton, Texas 75007
(972) 323-9700

A perfect Korean fish cake.

5 comments on “Good Asian Grub: Fish Pancakes at Toreore in Super H-Mart

  1. Pingback: Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Oct. 18 | FrontBurner

  2. Thanks for this Carol (and for all the Asian food posts)
    I shop at H-Mart all the time, and am both fascinated and intimidated by the food court. It always smells so good, but I’m not sure how to approach the vendors. Since you gave me the info about the proper hand signals, I will look for this lady and give the fish cakes a try next time.

  3. So totally true Sam. I have been intimidated to eat from the before there. I have empire these posts. Carol, perhaps you can ask some of the Asian people how we can not come off like idiots.

  4. Another mouth-watering snack that I don’t think I’ll be able to get my hands on in the near future… These fish cakes sound similar to a Chinese dessert I’ve had before except fish-shaped instead of circular. Are they?

  5. interestingly, these fish are shaped a little differently from the Japanese taiyaki that I’m used to. sgl, I think you’re referring to 車輪餅 or 紅豆餅 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagawayaki), which I bought occasionally from street vendors in Taiwan. there’s something about the fish shape, though, that makes this treat so much tastier.