Hmong Market: current favorites?
NYC Hound headed to Minneapolis and very interested to hear what people are currently recommending at Hmong Market. Who has the best papaya salad? Fried chicken? Pork belly? Etc. Thanks in advance.
There are two -- the one on the East Side of St. Paul and the one off of Como, just north of the Capitol.
My most recent experience (July 4) was at the East Side ("Hmong Village") location. What I do - and I recommend - is to walk end-to-end and just see what looks best. For the meats (pork belly, sausage, stuffed chicken), I find that the stall that has the best looking stuff changes from visit-to-visit. Frankly, I can't remember the name of the place I got my pork belly from last week but it was outstanding.
For papaya salad, Fue's (last stall on the right as you face them) is known to have outstanding papaya salad. I'm not an expert but two people whose opinions I trust both have given me the thumbs up on it. I watched them make a friend's batch and tasted a few bites and it all seemed great to me. Just not a dish I get a lot.
At the Como location ("Hmongtown Marketplace"), I generally eat at Mr. Papaya's Kitchen. My go-to dishes there are the pho and pork belly.
At the Eastside market, I highly recommend the steamed catfish (wrapped in banana leaf) at the Santi stall. The catfish is all meat (no bones) and is filled with herbs and is almost gelatinous in texture. The pepper sauce it comes with is amazing -- it's hard to describe but it's a thick paste (not a liquid/fish sauce) and tastes almost like chocolate. Santi is near one end of the row.
You might also like to try United Noodle in Minneapolis. It's a big Asian grocery store with a small cafeteria that has amazing food. Love the ramen.