Asian Market Tour

In a previous post, I mentioned our fascination with a local Asian supermarket.  It is loaded with lots of fun things to explore…some familiar, some, well, not!  You’ll see…

We ventured out on Saturday with the hopes that some sweet soul would be more than happy to show us around the market so that we could learn what the heck the off-the-wall ingredients were used for.  We approached one young man who tried to explain that their store is loaded with products from many different Asian countries.  Since we were not really in search of a particular ingredient or recipe, he suggested we just look around and find him if we had questions.  With that, we started at aisle 1 and gave ourselves a tour.  We found some pretty interesting things along the way, adding a few to our basket!

The first part of the store is laden with Oriental decor and cooking supplies…

Who knew they made Asian piggy banks?

Bowls, bowls, and more bowls.

An Asian market is a great place to find various kitchen utensils and, obviously, bowls.  They are generally priced lower than you’d find at the big name household supply stores.

We spent about two hours in the store browsing each captivating aisle.  After perusing the kitchen supplies, we rounded the corner to find:

The packaging tells us, “Please enjoy special delicious taste.  Which brings you fantastic feeling.”  A fantastic feeling?  In a box?  We had to have these!!

My husband found a variety of miso soup options.  It was like the Campbell’s section at Publix, only better!

While we were interested in finding some new things for our pantry, there were plenty of things that we said NO to…

These look like sticks.

I know it says it’s “tasty”, but fried catfish in a can? No thanks.

Not sure what this is, but you can tell by the look on my husband’s face it’s not something we’ll be purchasing.

Lady’s Choice…Really Meaty, Really Tasty. That’s some creamy looking meat, so again we say no thank you.

Durian fruit.

The durian fruit is found in southeast Asia and is known for its pungent odor.  This thing weighed about 5 lbs. and was loaded with sharp thorny protrusions.  I don’t know how you would even cut into it.  We are not going to find out either.

Frozen ground cucumber?

Okay, let’s read that again:  Frozen Ground CUCUMBER.  I am certain that is about as far from being a cucumber as the earth is from the next galaxy.  You’re not fooling us with that one!

We did find a few things that struck our funny bones instead of our gag reflexes…

Oriental SPAM!

PMS tea for mother and daughter.

Vegan Big Meat? Oxymoron?

If you are on a gluten-free diet, then big gluten balls are probably not in your basket.

Once we examined the cooking directions on some of the products we investigated we were intrigued by the instructions provided.

Make your own rice cakes…

Be aware that if you are soaking these in the summer, you have to soak them for 12 hours, but if it’s winter that time increases to 16-20 hours or up to 5 days.  The instructions tell us we can add highly tasteful or plain ingredients and to just fry it for “a while”.  Don’t they know Americans need more exact directions?

Mmmm, rice cake mix!

Now, look more closely at the instructions.  If you are cooking over coals, you need an empty one gallon ice cream can.  You also need banana leaves and clay bibingka molds (maybe we can find those back on aisle 1?)  It’s nice that they tell you to avoid burning yourself on the coals.  How thoughtful.

And while there were many odd items, we found some familiar items too…


An abundance of ramen noodles!

As our tour comes to a close, we need to emphasize that you can find a lot of delicious ingredients at the Asian market.  We had fun finding those that were unusual to us, but we have also gotten help from the employees so that we can improve some of our recipes.  They have a huge variety of curries, fruits and vegetables, frozen dumplings, and lots of other things that we won’t find on the ethnic food aisle at our grocery store.  We highly recommend giving it a try!

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