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Nov 3, 2011 02:35 AM

Which special ingredients do you buy at the International District?

I love going to the ID, buying some ingredient that I can't find in other stores (or that is better there than in other stores), and cooking something with it at home.

For those of you that make a trip to the ID to get a special ingredient, what do you get and what do you cook with it?

I'll start by sharing some of my favorites (some of these are based on excellent recommendations from Chowhound, so thank you!):

* Char siu from Kau Kau - Part of it we just eat as is while it's warm because it's so good. The part that we can manage to bring home, we like making Chinese steamed BBQ pork buns.

* Ho fan noodles from Hau Hau - Really, lots of stores sell these, in the ID. We like to get them at Hau Hau because it's just fun to go there. We like making beef and broccolli chow fun.

* Fresh tofu from Northwest Tofu - Sadly, I am no longer able to eat the supermarket stuff anymore, since I have become aquainted with the real thing. We like making red cooked tofu, or simply eating it as is with some soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, sesame seeds, or whatever other Chinese-style ingredients we have on hand.

OK, now it's your turn :)

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  1. We get the brown rice cakes and fried tofu at Uwajimaya and make szechuan rice cakes with tofu. The rice cakes are also great in soups. Wild prawns are on sale this week [$10.99 per lb.]and we also like to make rice cakes with shrimp.

    I'll have to check out NW Tofu. We used get the Star tofu back in the day and haven't had anything like it.

    I'm fan of the BBQ at 663 Bistro but don't usually cook with it. The roast pork and honey bbq pork are both really good with the roast pork being the stand out.

    Uwajimaya is also a great place to buy packaged sausage. They have a good selection and prices are lower than in most grocery stores. SRF Kobe beef dogs, Hempler's andouille and hot links, Taylor's chorizo and Falls Brand Basque chorizo are all good. Sukiyaki/hot pot sliced meats are another good thing to get here. I use the andouille in jambalay and gumbo. The Taylor's chorizo is great if you are making torta's [Costco now sells torta bread]. I like to us the Basque chorizo in paella.

    600 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA

    1. Sukiyaki meat at Uwajimaya; tofu there as well, but will have to check out Northwest Tofu. Purchase in the ID pretty much all Asian ingredients (pantry staples, noodles, mochi, manju, senbei, barbecued duck) unless I go out to Central Market in Shoreline, which also has a good selection. If we have time before we need it, we also use the SE Asian warehouse stores to buy limes and shallots in particular, because they tend to be good quality for a much cheaper price than a typical American grocery.

      600 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA

      2 Replies
      1. re: PAO

        Which SE Asian warehouses do you go to? (if you remember the name...)

        1. re: ethnicchower

          No, I don't remember. There's on a block or two south of Jackson that is pretty good, a block or two west of 12th. It's kind of the situation where I know how to get there, but can't tell you how. Sorry. But limes and shallots tend to be cheaper in SE Asian groceries.

      2. For Cantonese BBQ, I prefer King's BBQ. There's one next to Shanghai Garden and one up in Little Saigon. Their roasted pig is especially good (they charge a tad extra for pork belly which is worth it). 663 is also pretty good.

        3 Replies
        1. re: HungWeiLo

          Thank you HungWeiLo! I will for sure try those next time I go to the ID!

          1. re: ethnicchower

            Another place to try for roasted pork belly is the Uwajamiya food court. Surprisingly, it was pretty good.

            1. re: dave_c

              I'm also a fan of the Uwajimaya food court BBQ. The roast pork is really good and the BBQ pork is one of my favorites in the ID.

              600 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA

        2. If they have them (it's been hit or miss---mostly miss---for the last 8 months or so), Uwaj is the only place I know of that carries fresh curry leaves west of the lake and south of...someplace pretty far north.

          1 Reply
          1. re: eight_inch_pestle

            Ah, yes, good point.
            I usually buy fresh curry leaves east of the lake, at Mayuri. They always carry small bags of it. Plus I just love going there - it feels like I'm in India! :)

          2. Uwajimaya for unique wacky end-dispay goodies and great produce. Big John's PFI for bulk cheeses, olives and spices; pastas of a zillion varieties, and other treasures too numerous to mention.

            600 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA