Ethnic Desserts in MSP area
I am teaching a seminar on The Psychology of Eating and I have received a little money from the U to bring the students a different ethnic food each week. We decided in class to make these all desserts. So, I am in need of help. Can anyone recommend places to get good ethnic desserts here in the twin cities area? Please suggest specific desserts if possible. I have already done Mexican and Greek. So skip those, but anything else?
Thanks very much!
This sounds like great fun! For traditional Japanese dessert, you could try either Sakura or Midori's Floating World for mochi (glutinous rice pounded into a paste) filled with sweetened azuki beans (anko). At Sakura, it is listed as Sakura mochi and at Midori's, it's daifuku. I grew up eating mochi and like it very much, but my nephew has not acquired a taste for it, nor does he care for the sweeted azuki beans. Depending on the palates of your group, you may opt for some other Japanese deserts that reflect the western influence on Japan like green tea ice cream, mochi ice cream, or moko cake (swiss style jelly roll with filling). Enjoy!
Doh! I just realized that you weren't necessarily looking for a restaurant. You can purchase Japanese treats (mochi, dango, Swiss rolls, Japanese crackers -osenbei, etc) at United Noodles (Minneapolis) or Kim's (St. Paul).
United Noodles Asian Supermarket
2015 E 24th St, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Kim's Oriental Market
689 Snelling Ave N, St Paul, MN 55104
Great idea! Try Keefer Court Bakery for wonderful Chinese pastries. Some are more common at a dim sum brunch, but they certainly count as dessert in my occidental mind.
The egg tarts are always popular, and the giant almond cookies are delish, but my favorite is the cream horn: flaky pastry cones filled with not-too-sweet, slightly salty whipped cream. I also like the winter melon cookies - I love the crunch of the sweetened melon inside the rich, flaky dough. Right now, they're doing yummy august moon cakes (for a pricy $6/each, but cut them in small pieces to share).
And if they have a box of the tiny "tasty cookies", give them a try for something very different.
Patel's Groceries (1835 Central Ave NE, Mpls and 7837 Portland Ave S, Bloomington) carry Indian sweets made in Chicago. They are in a chilled display case and sold by a piece or a pound. Peda is made with milk, sugar and nuts. They also have gulab jamun (fried dough balls in sweet syrup). I cannot remember if they have ras malai.
Caspian Bistro Market (2418 University Ave SE) is a Persian/Iranian restaurant with a small but well stocked grocery store. They have an assortment of Persian cookies and baklavas. I love the baklavas with cardamom; they are very different from Greek baklavas. They also sell their homemade saffron-rose water ice cream in the freezer.
I second Quang's for Vietnamese desserts and Keefer Court for Chinese (mostly Cantonese) pastries. Keefer Court will carry moon cakes through this Saturday for the moon cake holiday.
re: Ms. Fennelbulb
It's not Pierre's, it's Patrick's in Southdale Square. They also have a shop in Bachman's at 61st and Lyndale- I really like the napoleons there, and you can sit and eat them in a greenhouse with tables, kind of fun.
For Italian try Broder's deli at 50th and Penn- I like their ricotta cheesecake and cannolis a lot.
Sounds like a lot of fun! I wish I had that class! I have a few suggestions. First, for something very different, go to Vicky's Place in Brooklyn Park. This is a Liberian restaurant, the only one in the state. You owe it to yourself to try an entree from there, like the Jollof Rice, but for dessert, I recommend the Rice Bread. It is a very moist, dense, sweet quick bread that is just delicious.
Next I would try Kramarczuk's deli on E Hennepin. They have kolachis which are a fruit filled pastry from Poland/Ukraine. My favorite are apricot or prune.
And finally, a little treat that might not classify as dessert is Turkish Delight. They are little jelly like pillows, flavored with rose, lemon and mint and covered in corn starch. Holy Land sells a few kinds, as well as the assorted box. I assume this represents Turkey, but I've never actually researched that statement.
Will you be offering this class again next semester? I'll join!
Kramarczuk East European Deli
215 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Holy Land Bakery & Grocery
2513 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
7648 Humboldt Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55444
Thanks for all these great suggestions. It does sound like a fun class, doesn't it? And yet, the students are NOT into it. They don't like anything I bring. I'm so disappointed. They didn't like spanakopita the first week (which prompted me to switch to desserts) -- I mean, how can you NOT like that? They did like the tres leches cake, but it really didn't seem too different than American cake, so this doesn't really count. They HATED the mochi I brought in! It was DELICIOUS, and I gave the leftovers to some staff and colleagues who all loved it. But what's with my students? Sigh...at least I am learning about all these new things and getting to eat them myself! And my little boys LOVE it all too.
Well, you are doing a good job of leading your horses to water...
Has anyone mentioned bubble tea? That appeals to many people. You can get it lots of places in the Twin Cities. In St. Paul at the Hmong Market or Golden Globe; at Dragon Star Grocery; at Bravo Bakery on Grand Avenue. In Minneapolis at Pham's deli in Midtown Global Market or Peninsula... Lots of other places, too.
Bravo Bakery also has some Asian'ish cakes (green tea and red bean and mango) that your students might like if they liked tres leches cake. It might be a way to ease in gradually.
I second both Keefer Court (I love egg tarts, also, sesame balls) and Caspian Bistro.
Also, Holy Land Deli has good baklava type desserts.
Someone mentioned Cossetta's, I think they have cannoli, don't they?
Everest on Grand's dessert menu: http://www.everestongrand.com/root/ou...
Here's one I'll bet they would like: Canelés de Bordeaux. http://www.pbase.com/image/81324571. Crunchy carmelized on the outside, custardy in the center. You can find them, locally made, in the cheese shop at Surdyk's. I'd recommend calling ahead though.
I second Patel's or one of the Indian markets in Northeast for Indian sweets. Although the intense sweetness of most of them, and the squeakiness of gulab jamun, might put your students off, judging from your description of their reactions so far.
One of the Hmong market food stalls sells a desert of banana baked in ...hmmm...maybe a pastry of some sort?... that's unusual enough to qualify as a little adventuresome but not a challenge to anyone's taste buds or texture boundaries.
Re: cannolis. Yes, Cossetta's has them. But I think better ones can be had from Broder's or Buon Giorno Italia.
The cendol at Peninsula. Tastes just like I had in Singapore. The main ingredients of Cendol are coconut milk, green starch noodles and palm sugar. I think their version contains ice also. It's very refreshing