Last week, I decided to check out the new Tacoma Fresh store (go back and read my post in case you missed it!). While there, I decided to also check out the new Hong Kong Market, which is right across the street and I’ve been hearing good things about. I adore visiting Asian markets – they sell things you just can’t find anywhere else. Plus, seeking out new stores can be a great way to find hidden bargains.
I wanted to share some of the cool things I found during my visit.
Check out these cool tea flavors – guyabano, mangosteen, and guava!
In fact, they had lots of tea, including several varieties of green loose leaf tea.
Lumpia, anyone? Not only did I find a nice selection of frozen lumpia, I also the rolls so you could make your own. (Sorry if “rolls” isn’t the correct word – maybe wrappers?)
Howdy! In this post I explore the candy aisle at an Asian market, get inspired by the mochi, and make a truly unique treat: mochi + waffles = moffles!
I spent a year living in south India and the food that I ate there ended up being some of the best I’ve ever had. However, it took me a while to develop an appreciation for it. When I moved there I was 23 and the extent of my international experience was a weekend in Vancouver, B.C. with my family when I was 12. When I got off the plane in India I found myself completely skeeved out at the thought of eating in a foreign country. I was scared to get sick, I was overwhelmed by the unfamiliar choices, and somehow through the combination of jet lag, culture shock, and fatigue I completely lost my appetite anyway. I brought a couple boxes of Clif bars in my luggage, and I survived on those for a week. But when the Clif bars started to run out I knew I would have to deal with my anxieties, and eat some food.
What did I do? I started with candy. Well, candy, crackers, chips, and soda to be exact. I was a walking nutritional disaster for a few days but somehow the junk food was just what I needed to get over the psychological hurdle. And if you find yourself not knowing where to start in an Asian or other international market I’m going to recommend you do the same thing: Go straight for the junk food.
Today I’m scouring the Asian market for some comfort food…
We’re battling the flu at our house this week so I thought I would take this opportunity to investigate what kinds of healing, comforting foods I could fix using ingredients from the Asian market. Everyone has a different standard for what counts as good comfort food, of course, but when I’m sick in the winter I crave strong flavors, warm foods, eggs, fruit, and carbs. What I don’t want is food that is greasy, super sweet, or takes a lot of effort to prepare.
As I wandered around the Asian market this afternoon startling people with my raspy voice and thinking about what would taste good, I found a lot of possibilities. First I put a big chunk of fresh ginger in my basket that I knew would be great for tea and some vitamin-rich carrot-orange-ginger juice. I was tempted by the fresh lemongrass and frozen kaffir lime leaves, thinking of how fantastic those flavors would be in a coconut milk-based soup. And I had to stop myself from buying every bottle of hot sauce on the premises. I’m not usually a heat freak, but when I’m sick it just burns so good!
On the other hand, my husband Christopher, who is much, much sicker than I (guess which one of us got a flu shot this year and which one refused?) craves rice when he’s sick and pretty much all the time. And to him, who loves Asian food, the whiter and stickier the rice the better. So I thought after rubbing it in that he should have gotten a flu shot (whoops, cat’s out of the bag), I’d be nice and make him something that he’d love.
Staring at the many varieties of rice my mind immediately flashed to the coconut sticky rice with mango that is on the dessert menu at every Thai restaurant I’ve ever been to. Even though I love those flavors I’d never actually tried it because I’m always too stuffed with pad Thai to even think about dessert. Maybe I could make it instead! I quickly pulled up a couple recipes on my phone and realized that the only other things I would need were rice and mangoes. Score! This would be a healing, comforting AND frugal recipe.
This post is part of a series that will be running for the month of March here at The Coupon Project. I am delighted to have guest writer Anna Krey running this series for me! Please visit our Adventures in International Markets page for past posts you may have missed. With that? Here’s Anna:
Welcome back! On Monday I introduced some of the benefits of shopping at international markets and shared some general thoughts on what you can expect. Today I’d like to share the first of three posts that are focused on shopping for and cooking with Asian ingredients.
The week before I started working on this series I ate a fantastic noodle dish at the home of a Korean friend. When she swore up and down it wasn’t hard to prepare I knew I had to hit the Asian market and learn how to make some japchae for you. While I was at it I scouted out another easy and delicious dish, seasoned fried chicken (yangnyeom tongdak) from the fantastic Korean recipe blog Maangchi, so that you can have yourself a full-on Korean dinner.
Photo credits: Alex McKean
If you’ve never ventured into an Asian market and are feeling uncertain about what to look for once you’re there, either (or both) of these dishes would be a great starting point. Each dish requires only one specialty ingredient from the Asian market, plus a couple other ingredients that you can buy there if you feel like it. Japchae is a traditional Korean noodle dish made from dried sweet potato noodles, or, in Korean, dangmyeon. I paid $3.19 for 24 ounces of sweet potato noodles, enough to make this dish three times.
Tip: It helps to have a couple ways to describe the item that you are looking for. Try asking for Korean sweet potato noodles, glass noodles, vermicelli, or dangmyeon. Whatever you call it, unless you are in an exclusively Korean market be sure to note that you are looking for a Korean product.
Every now and then I get in this mood to go to H Mart. Have you ever been? If not, it’s a ton of fun! I always feel like I’ve stepped into another country (admittedly, I’ve not traveled much internationally, …