A Vegan and Gluten-Free Gem

At Your Local Farmers Market

Cindy and I have a new favorite spot at our farmers market, and these guys should be at your local farmers market too!  Dave’s Gourmet Korean Food is absolutely delicious, healthy and most importantly, vegan and gluten-free. Honestly, even if you’re not vegan or gluten-free you should give it a shot.

Unfortunately, Dave (his American name, supposedly) does not have a restaurant yet, but they sell at most local farmers markets in Los Angeles and their niche is simple, healthy sides that revolve around the fermentation process. The fermentation of foods mostly occur in vinegar, where Dave ferments all of his foods in a a homemade vegetable broth (which they also sell and is delicious). Our favorite is something called Tempha (pictured). This is something unique to Dave’s and it is probably one of my favorite things to eat. His Tempha is made from brown rice and beans that have been fermented (soaked in the vegetable broth) for 9 months. Amazing, right!  Tempha has a meaty texture and will fill you up for a few hours. It’s health stats:  150 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, 14 grams of fiber and 30 grams of protein. It’s a beacon of nutrition, and everything else they make is similarly healthy, each with its own health benefit. Other things they make and ferment include: cucumber, burdock root, daikon, tofu, mushrooms, seaweed salad, mung beans and kim chee. The longest fermentation process is with the Tempha, while the others are sometimes soaked only for a couple weeks.

And quickly, why are fermented foods so beneficial? Well, our stomachs contain a number of enzymes and intestinal flora to aid in digestion, and a balance of these microbes is vital to optimal health. Overly processed foods (think anything with a package) are typically very difficult to digest since they aren’t natural, and all the enzymes in our stomachs get kicked into overdrive to help digest. This often results in gas, diarrhea, constipation and bloating. How do you feel 30 minutes after a McDonalds meal? You get the idea.

The fermentation of food, however, creates large quantities of good bacteria within the food that is being fermented, which increases its digestibility and vitamin levels. Fermentation is also used to preserve food, which man has attempted since ancient times.

Long story short, check out Dave’s next time you go to your farmers market. Each mini-tub is $5 and can easily be eaten as two snacks or a mini-meal. You’ll be full for a few hours without feeling bloated or too full. They’ll offer you a taste of everything, and honestly, if you don’t walk away with something I’d be surprised. In fact, Cindy and I found out over the weekend that if you buy 8 things you’ll get one free. We did it and can’t wait to enjoy our stuff for the next couple weeks.  Enjoy!