Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shopping for that unique something

While most of us are fond of simple, wholesome, familiar, comfort foods, there times when we crave something different. From the closed poll it seems I am like most people who seek out those unique ingredients at Ethnic Grocery stores. I’m most familiar with the Asian grocery stores as I’ve shopped them over the past 10 years mostly for a restaurant's pantry. It wasn’t too many years ago that not a single major purveyor could consistently deliver wonton wrappers, or wasabi powder, or nori sheets, so we had to go out and get them ourselves.

I have had many plesent shopping experiences at the Asian Grocery, on top of the unique stock, the communication barrier is strong, challenging, yet trivial in most instances. Almost 100% of the stock is completely foreign, for instance what do you use a 3 foot dehydrated octopus for? Yet there are a lot of heat and serve fast food dishes that are very accessible. Noodles, rice, and soy are the staples. The live frogs, turtles, crabs, lobsters, catfish, and tilapia are all fun to look at, more in a zoo type of way than a food type of way. My favorite is the section of the cooler stocked with hundreds of unique soft drinks, juices, and canned coffee. I almost always pick one to go.

If by chance you are not shopping for edibles, there are plenty of items at the Asian Grocery for you. Hello Kitty, that’s all I have to say. Honk Kong Supermarket has a huge selection of restaurant quality small wares. There are woks, chopsticks, tea pots, and serving bowls everywhere, all priced very reasonably. My favorite three Asian Grocery stores are listed below.
I’m quite unfamiliar with any other good ethnic groceries around town, so please let me know where I can find something new.

Asia Food
3126 St. Clair Ave.

Hong Kong Supermarket
3038 Payne Ave.

Tink Hall - Asian Grocery
E. 36th between Payne and Perkins


Russ said...

Laxmi Grocery is a very large Indian store, with a similar blend of produce, spices, and kitchen goods.

spicehound said...

If you haven't been there yet, La borincana on fulton has unique items from just about anywhere Spain ever owned. Mexico, central and south america, the Philippines and other places. As far as Asiann stores go, have you tried Park To Shop on East 30th? It has everything the other Asian stores have and more. I feel guilty because I haven't been to Good Harvest since I discovered Park To Shop (gotta love that name).

maybelles mom said...

That is so funny. I have never visited, but I was just in the midst of uploading my pictures of these same grocery stores. I will definitely mention you in my post.

maybelles mom said...

I liked to you in my post.