in praise of little Asian market!!
First stopped in little Asian market a few years ago. Was WARMLY greeted and WOWWED at varieties. Originally stopped iin cuz knew I'd need soy sauce soon. When I saw 6-8 brands with labels I couldn't read... trusted myself to the kindness of strangers! Asked which one (other than Kiko) should I try FIRST?? Actually brought in EMPTY bottle when I needed more, so would get store owners next recommendation.
HUGE variety of dried noodles... workiing my way thru them, told do WHATEVER I want with them... just butter, spaghetti sauce... haven't been steered wrong yet!
About ONLY place I buy eggs! JUMBOS... usually $1.50-1.99/doz everyday... told come on Tuesday cuz that's when they get shipment.
Fresh, tofu... dipped from big bucket in fridge case. LOVE "leeks"... kinda flat chive that's very garlicky... learned about them from former ESL student who grew up in CHina... out in boonies somewhere.
Always several different kinds of eggplants... little round green ones, long pale purple ones. Bought a 1 lb bag of "onions" CLEARLY marked as shallots for $1.50. Frozen/peeled edamame for $1.99. Something called "brown" sugar... coarse/dry/RAW sugar??
Store owners are GREAT! I feel very comfortable asking all my non-Asian questions... what's this and what do I do with it?
Isn't it great when you find a store that you LOVE to shop in? These are the types of places I look for when I travel--always something tasty, and I never feel bad about spending money in a place with great food and good people.
And have found SUPER values there! Sesame seeds... white/black/toaster... 8 OUNCE bags (a LOT) for $.99!
Panko bread crumbs... SAME brand as supermarket for about HALF the price.
KNOW the bok choy and long beans have a QUICK turn over!
Asian markets are even better value when they have:
a Hot Steam Table with Prepared Foods
a Barbecue Stand
a Sushi Stand
a Hot Food Stand/Cafe
My town used to have an Asian market but when the economy tanked they closed. I loved going there. I would have my list and the ancient lady who worked there would take my list, take my hand and lead me around the store. She would put everything in my basket for me.
What fun- that's why I love it when I discover a foreign grocery store- they're almost always a whole new fascinating experience.
I shop at an Asian market, a Latino market and an Eastern European market ( German, Hungarian, Russian) . There is almost no need to shop at a regular store. So much more cost effective but the quality can't be beat!
Beyond all the outstanding produce, frozen, dry and prepared food buys I also take advantage of the better prices on cookware, knives, sushi preparation, subcontracted bakery cakes, cleaning products and herbal remedies.
When the price of canned coconut milk and coconut cream jumped to over $3.00/can I was still able to buy it at the Asian market for 1.00/can.
I've adopted a very small Korean grocer about five miles from where I live. The store has a "restaurant" seating about 20. Never seen more than four other diners while I was there.
But this jewel introduced me to Duk Mandoo Guk for a first meal. Then Korean BBQ.
Bought all the ingredients for the Duk (at their direction) and can now make it at home. The home-made pork dumplings are outrageously tasty. They introduced me to the correct seaweed for savory uses and RICE CAKES. What a find. I'm so blessed.