Walk into many big Korean grocery stores and you'll find, among the rows of produce, the bags of rice and aisles of kimchi and the seafood counters that often have more tanks of live fish than some aquariums: a stack of portable gas stoves. These little stoves come in black plastic carrying cases about the size of an old electric typewriter (remember those?) and are powered by canisters of butane, conveniently offered in nearby four-packs. With a little ignition knob — no matches or lighters needed — connected to a safety switch, a dial that controls the heat and a removable dripping tray, the stove is a simple and easy way to fire up a hot pot, boil a batch of dumplings or make an omelet. Where you do this — tableside, at a picnic area or campsite — is, of course, now up to you. An added bonus? These are a terrific addition to earthquake preparedness kits, along with cash, a few pounds of chocolate and a vat of gochujang.
Hanaro portable gas stove, $26.99 from H Mart, 621 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 235- 9560 and other locations, hmart.com.