Have you ever heard of the Korean food company named “Sempio?” It is one of the most popular and famous Korean food companies. They have a 60 year history, and they are especially well known for making good soy sauce. Why am I taking about this now? hehe .. Recently one of my Facebook friends asked me if I am interested in trying some Korean cooking products from her company, Sempio. Wow, the Sempio campany? Since I am like using their soy sauce, I said yes. My expectation was that she would send me several kinds of soy sauces. Then, oh my, they sent me not only soy sauces but also other cooking ingredients too. Thank you very much! The more surprising thing is that they make more than just soy sauce. I like their soy sauce, so I was excited to try their other products. Below are the products they sent me.
This is the soy sauce that Korean people use most often for Korean dishes. I didn’t have to open this new bottle to try it because I always buy the exactly the same thing. This soy sauce is naturally brewed for 6 months and they do not add or use any GMOs or MSG. It tastes good, and at the same time it is healthier than some other brands. For soy sauce, I think this brand is the best. 😀
My husband likes many kinds of Korean food and he thinks that many Korean foods are healthy except that they are salty. I can see why he thinks that and I agree in some point. Many Korean dishes use fermented ingredients such as soy sauce, soy bean paste, and red pepper paste which are salty. So this product has 25% less sodium. It is still naturally brewed. As for taste, this one keeps the good soy flavor but it is less salty. It is good for everybody, but especially for people on a strict diet, patients, children.
Here is another product that I use a lot for my cooking, “soup soy sauce.” I received many questions from people
about what “soup soy sauce” is. In Korean cuisine, there are 2 main types of soy sauce. There is normal soy sauce and there is soup soy sauce. The differences between them are in the fermenting process, ingredients, usage, and the flavor. Usually, we make soup soy sauce at home, but this product is as good as homemade soup soy sauce. You can use it for stew, soup, and some kinds of side-dishes (Muchim: Mix some fresh or cooked vegetables or seafood with some seasonings such as soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, red pepper powder, etc.)
I tried this red pepper paste for the first time. The container says, “extra spicy pepper paste” in Korean. Depending on how many spicy hot peppers you use to make hot pepper paste, the spiciness will be changed. My husband and I did our own taste testing for this one. We compared this with one I already had. (I was using the extra spicy version of the other brand too). Our first reactions were the same. It was very spicy but tasted good. The Sempio brand is very spicy as it should be. The other brand had more of a normal spiciness. I liked that the Sempio brand did not have too much sweetness – some brands of hot pepper paste have an overly sweet flavor. The Sempio brand seems a little salty for me and my husband does not like it if the food is too spicy. So, if you use this brand, you might want to reduce the amount of salt or other salty ingredients in your recipe – and/or – you might also want to reduce the amount of pepper paste that you use to make it less spicy. The plus side of that is this container will last longer than some other brands. Anyway, since we liked the flavor of this extra spicy red pepper paste, we want to try their normal hot pepper paste someday. So if you like really spicy hot pepper paste, I highly recommend that you try this one.
Another fermented product that is used often for Korean cooking is soy bean paste. For this product, they said it has no MGS, food coloring, or preservatives. I like that. They used a special fermentation process that gives good taste and uses 100% pure bean paste. I tried it plain and thought it had a good soy bean flavor but it was a little too salty for my taste. So, I cooked Japanese miso soup using this paste to compare it to the other brand of paste that I was using. When I make miso soup, I usually use Korean soy bean paste, bonito seasoning, green onions, and salt. Since I thought this soy bean paste is a little saltier than the one I had, I skipped the salt altogether and used less soy bean paste for the soup. It came out just perfectly. My husband and I both liked this new soy bean paste flavor more. I use soy bean paste for soup, stew, side-dishes, and as a seasoning for different dishes.
This is organic sesame oil. In Korea, you can buy sesame oil in any grocery store, but many moms like to make their own sesame oil at a mill. Before doing so, they will check the quality of the mill’s seeds first or they will bring their own seeds to make sure that only top quality seeds are used to make their oil. The check the seed quality for two reasons: for health (organic, etc.) and for better taste. Since moving to the USA, I have not had good sesame oil, but oh my, when I tried the Sempio brand of sesame oil, I can see why it is called organic. I liked the flavor, and changed the taste of my dishes in a good way. It is close enough to the one I missed from Korea. I’m not sure about the price, I just guessing it will be a little more expensive than others because it is organic, but I would like to buy this the next time. I’m happy to find a good product in that point. 😀
Apple vinegar and brown rice vinegar are the most used vinegars in Korean cooking. Sempio apple vinegar has no food preservative or MSG and use 100% naturally brewed vinegar. I love sweet and sour dishes so this is an important ingredient for me. 😀
This is corn syrup that is made of 100% corn flour. It’s sweet, sticky, and runny like honey. I did not see much differences from the ones I used before. This gives your dish a good sweet flavor and plus helps the texture of the food become sticky, chewy, etc. I used corn syrup quite a bit for my cooking, but since there is increasing scientific evidence that it is not that healthy, I’m trying to use it less now. You can use small amounts of corn syrup – sometimes you can replace it with sugar or honey to be healthier.
Wow, 100% Italian grape seeds oil with 0% trans fat. I heard that grape seeds oil is expensive. Maybe it because it is very healthy?
They sent me 4 different flavors of noodle soup base. They added 3 recipes you can use this soup base. I’ve already posted one, the buck wheat noodle soup recipe, long time ago. Someday, I will post a dish using their recipe and this soup base. Then I can give a more detailed review. To make this sauce, they use their soy sauce and Japanese apricot extract. So this one is bonito flavored soup base.
This one is anchovy-kelp flavored soup base.
This one is soup base for buckwheat (soba) noodles.
This one is clams and seafood flavored soup base.
These 5 unique vinegar drinking bottles are very new to me. When I just looked at them for the first time, I thought they were different kinds of vinegar for cooking. Soon I found out though that they are for drinking. You mix some of liquid with water (1:1 or 1:1.3 ratio) and drink it. Vinegar is though to be good for health and they added additional flavorings such as honey, berries, or red ginseng to make it taste better. I’m not sure about how healthy it is since I only drank it several times so far, but it is unique and made me feel cool. I think the idea for this product is neat. 😀 Aha, you can use this for making salad dressing also. So this one pictured is honey drinking rice vinegar.
This one is quince and citron drinking rice vinegar.
This one is mixed berries drinking rice vinegar.
This one is red ginseng drinking rice vinegar.
This one is prun drinking rice vinegar.
This is gourmet seasoning sauce. They sent me 2 different kinds. It is naturally brewed soy sauce added with the boiled down natural sauce from cooking onions, ginger, garlic, pears, apples, beef, etc. This one is specially good for soup or stew. I already tried it for my seaweed soup. I basically made the soup in the same way, but reduced the normal soy sauce amount and added some of this seasoning in place of the missing soy sauce. It turned out pretty good, so I’m going to use it for different kinds of soups and stews later. You can think of it like this – in a well flavored dish, you can add extra flavor to make it even more tasty. Sometimes if you don’t have enough time to make your own broth, as many of my recipes ask for, you can get a similar flavoring from simply using this seasoning sauce. It is a shortcut for a quick and easy dish. Hehe, that doesn’t mean skip making broth all of the time though, because making your own broth give you the best flavor for your dish. =P Anyway, I was happy about the result, so try it someday if you can find it in a Korean grocery store. This is especially for soup and stew. It has seafood extract in it, you will not like this particular flavor of sauce if you are a vegetarian or do like seafood, in which case, you can check out the sauce below.
This one is made especially for frying or boiling down food in soy sauce or other seasonings. They sent me one extra for each of them, so I’m thinking about giving them away in a contest soon. ^_^ Why I give away only those two bottles? Am I too greedy to use them all? It is because I want to try them all and give you good reviews. 😉
They have a nice English website that has a lot of information about their products and related recipes using their products.
The short conclusion is, so far I’m very satisfied with their products, and I’m willing to start to use their products for my cooking. It was sweet of her to send me different kinds of new products to try and use in my cooking. I hope that this post will be helpful for you when you do a little Korean grocery shopping if you don’t know what to get. Thanks. 😀
Sempio is doing some contest now, I will post more about it soon. The winner will receive a $500 dollars prize. You will be interested in it. 😉