What do you buy in Asian food stores?

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techrules
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by techrules » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:11 pm

Primarily fresh veggies, potatoes, onions, rice, wheat flour, curry powders, Rice Crepe batter, Middle eastern Pita bread,
Canned Humus, Babaganoush, goya varieties, vegetarian noodles, frozen indian foods.
They also have a bunch of nuts, pistachio packets that taste much better than the costco variety.

roflwaffle
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by roflwaffle » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:39 pm

Ditto on the fresh fruits/veggies at the local Korean grocer, Zion Market. The prices are sometimes low enough (10-20 cents/lb) for me to seriously consider canning. I haven't yet, but I plan to. :beer

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Elsebet
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by Elsebet » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:49 pm

I buy a few things in Asian food stores because they are way cheaper than traditional stores:

- rice noodles
- pickled ginger
- tofu, seitan, and tempeh
- curry pastes (red & yellow mostly)
- sesame seeds
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Pajamas
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by Pajamas » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:55 pm

I don't regularly buy groceries at an Asian market because it is not convenient, but I used to because it was on my way to and from work and I still do when I am in the neighborhood.

There are two primary benefits: cheaper prices on items you already buy elsewhere and being able to buy items that are not available or hard to find at "regular" grocery stores.

Items that are significantly cheaper are things like Thai curry paste, soy and other sauces and ingredients like chili-garlic, vegetables such as garlic, fruits such as kumquats, any Asian foods and fresh produce, really. Packaged goods are also available in larger sizes than I can get elsewhere. A large jug of soy sauce will last me several year and a big tub of curry paste or a gallon of chili-garlic will last several months. Street vendors sell produce incredibly cheap, but sometimes it is second quality, so you really have to be choosy.

More unusual items that I enjoy are the vegetarian proteins like mock duck, tea-smoked tofu, and canned wheat gluten products. There is a better selection of frozen dim sum like buns and dumplings and all kinds of noodles such as soba and ramen. Rice cakes, not the popped ones but the ones that look like small slices of raw potato and have to be soaked overnight. Coconut powder. Lily bulbs. Dried mushrooms. All kinds of Chinese cabbage and greens. Thai basil and Kaffir lime leaves. Tiny eggplants. Citrus and other fruits that are difficult to identify exactly. Dried fruits such as plums and kumquats. I really enjoy trying different brands of hot sauce, fermented bean paste, and similar. Especially before the Chinese holidays there are lots of different kinds of candy. There are also store-packaged deli-type lunches and foods ready to serve. Red, black, and other kinds of rice.

Some of the seafood counters have fresh and live seafood, but I don't usually buy seafood or meats.

I have had better luck asking for assistance from other customers in choosing fruits or asking about a particular vegetable because many of the employees don't speak English.

I don't buy tofu sold from a large container because of recent and recurring incidents of botulism.
VictoriaF wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:31 am
Thank you, all, for excellent suggestions! And thank you for mentioning H Mart. It turns out that we have several of them in this area, http://nj.hmart.com/weekly-sales-and-ev ... -virginia/ .
Victoria
You must have Indian stores around there, too. Great place to buy spices, pickles, rice, chickpea flour, packaged shelf-stable meals.

Mexican or Central American stores usually have a good selection of peppers, chocolate for drinking, tamarind candy, tasty sodas (apple is good), dried hibiscus for hot tea or as a cold beverage. Also try horchata of various types, oat is my favorite.

WhiteMaxima
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by WhiteMaxima » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:19 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:27 pm
I wanted to buy some natto, Japanese fermented soybeans. I found a few local Asian food stores and visited them in search for natto. The last and the biggest one had what I was looking for. But before that, I explored a Vietnamese supermarket. They had bunches of many different leafy greens, but when I asked the woman working there if I could make a salad with them, she insisted that all these green things must be cooked. The woman did not speak good English, and I repeated my question in different ways before I was certain in what she was saying. This was a bit strange because the greens looked similar to common salad greens.

The store had many fascinating items. I ended up purchasing a few things that I could recognize, such as green tea, and something I have not seen before: a Dragon Fruit. The woman told me that, unlike the greens, I should just peel and eat it. I tried the Dragon Fruit today; it's delicious!

Now I am curious what other treasures hide in Asian food stores. My general approach to food is:
- as natural as possible ("single ingredient")
- minimum cooking (favoring salads with a rainbow of vegetables)
- health benefits.

In the Vietnamese store I've seen some dry mushrooms, dry fungi, and other interesting things that probably have some healthy properties. But I have no idea what they may be and how to get them.

Thus, I am curious: What are you buying in Asian food stores? Are there things that you eat raw or with minimum preparation?


(I am not interested in complex recipes, and I don't buy cookbooks. But other readers may benefit from more sophisticated recommendations.)

Victoria
You sure you like to try natto? Supposed to mix with rice and eat. Just like westerns like blue cheese. These stick soybean will bring very interesting flavor to your taste.

gips
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by gips » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:55 pm

the other replies cover most of what we purchase. I make thai curry and in addition to fish sauce, I find our local hmart a good place to purchase coconut milk and curry paste. we also love to grill their marinated meat (the pork belly is especially fabulous). hmmm, not sure if anyone mentioned kimchee...we buy that too.

I compete in bbq contests, many bbq teams purchase ribs and chicken at asian markets as they believe the meat is fresher/better. we also like the food courts at our local hmart, the korean and korean/chinese fusion dishes (kimchee fried rice with an egg!) are great and well-priced.

myleaf
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by myleaf » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:28 pm

curry:

pre-made thai red, green, or yellow
pre-made japanese curry in the rectangular boxes
pre-made indian curry such as for tikka masala

rice:
"sticky" short or medium grain sushi type rice
long grain rice
jasmine rice
basmati rice

Noodles:

Rice noodles, egg noodles,

various sprouts:

standard mung bean, soy bean sprouts, radish sprouts

fruits:

lychee, mangos, papaya

many different types of eggplants,
fresh water chestnuts

alcohol:

Japanese sake, asian beers, etc.

the dried mushroom is probably shitake, which is hydrated for asian cooking
the fungus is probably wood ear. Besides being in the typical hot sour soup. I do not know what other dishes it is used in
"Never met an electron I did not like"

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VictoriaF
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:50 pm

WhiteMaxima wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:19 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:27 pm
I wanted to buy some natto, Japanese fermented soybeans.
You sure you like to try natto? Supposed to mix with rice and eat. Just like westerns like blue cheese. These stick soybean will bring very interesting flavor to your taste.
I have very simple taste and I can eat anything. I became interested in natto after reading about its extensive health properties, and particularly containing vitamin K2 for the bone health.

Before I went on a tour of Asian stores I bought a package of natto at a local MOM's (My Organic Market), where a portion costs $4.50. I tried it, appreciated why most non-Japanese people may not like it, and decided that for me it will work just fine.

Now, I am sampling the varieties I've bought at the Asian supermarket. The average price is just over $1, and the taste is similar to that from MOM's.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

seashell
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by seashell » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:23 pm

You could try:

sweet potato noodles

here's a recipe

https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/japchae

MrMojoRisin
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by MrMojoRisin » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:34 pm

When I was a kid my family (Navy) was stationed in Hawaii, large Asian population.

Three things I fell in love with.
1) Dried plums. They are hard, dry lumps of salt and spice....I think they are called "Ling He Moi" (phonetically)
2) Ginger Candy. Soft chews that can pull loose fillings out.
3) Dried cuttlefish. The aquatic equivalent of beef jerky. Cut and dried squid.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:57 pm

The closest one is a little far away, in the sense that I could walk there, or walk back, but doing both is not realistic.

Fish, mostly, and some types of meat such as oxtails. They seldom have duck, which disappoints me. There's a good fishmonger close by, but the selection is thinner.

I would buy kimchi there, except two much closer stores routinely carry very fine brands of it, so those are where I get mine.

Sometimes I have other business to attend to in the closest Asian grocery store's neighborhood, so I take advantage of the fact and pop in then.

Lots of great vegetation is available in my immediate vicinity, and competitively priced, so I don't need to go anywhere else for that.

I am not trying to optimize my life for minimum walking.

PJW

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GerryL
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by GerryL » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:23 pm

I always keep furikake (dry rice topping generally in a small shaker jar) on hand in my cupboard. And I often run into a local Asian market to buy takuan (pickled Japanese radish). Just had both with my dinner. When I buy those things I will stroll the aisles and look for other items, but those two are my go-to items.

Here in a suburb of Portland, OR, I now have quick access to 3 different brand Asian markets and a 4th is near my doctor's office.

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Hyperborea
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by Hyperborea » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:51 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:50 pm
WhiteMaxima wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:19 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:27 pm
I wanted to buy some natto, Japanese fermented soybeans.
You sure you like to try natto? Supposed to mix with rice and eat. Just like westerns like blue cheese. These stick soybean will bring very interesting flavor to your taste.
I have very simple taste and I can eat anything. I became interested in natto after reading about its extensive health properties, and particularly containing vitamin K2 for the bone health.

Before I went on a tour of Asian stores I bought a package of natto at a local MOM's (My Organic Market), where a portion costs $4.50. I tried it, appreciated why most non-Japanese people may not like it, and decided that for me it will work just fine.

Now, I am sampling the varieties I've bought at the Asian supermarket. The average price is just over $1, and the taste is similar to that from MOM's.

Victoria
There are quite a variety of flavours in natto. They don't all taste the same. I've had one that even tasted somewhat like strong black coffee. I'm not a big fan of it but I don't hate it either - just neutral. You find it as a breakfast item in Japan and you eat it either on its own or over rice. The usual condiments are soy sauce, a hot mustard, nori (dried seaweed) cut into little strips. or chopped green onions. You don't use the wet condiments (soy sauce or mustard) if you have it over rice.

The Japanese hot mustard is called karashi. Often in a tube marked からし. It's pretty strong and can really get into your nose. It's the same mustard used for oden or tonkatsu.
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DrGoogle2017
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:08 am

Curry leaves from British Indian shop.

jlawrence01
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by jlawrence01 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:56 am

Over the course of a year, I shop at a a couple of the Asian supermarket chains like Mitsuwa Marketplace and Super H Mart as well as several independents. I ave always found that their pricing on fresh meats is very interesting.

For example, my local store sells ground beef, ground pork, and ground lamb for $1.69/ lb which is about half what the local groceries chains charge. Oxtails and soup bones are always cheaper. And generally, the quality is a lot better. Also, unlike the large supermarket chains, "family size" is 1# vs. 3#.

At Asian markets, I buy a lot of bones - pork, beef, stewing hens and the like - as a base for stocks and broths.

avecmoi
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by avecmoi » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:14 am

Like many above, suggest trying lots of Asian fruits. Naturally sweet and more flavorful than most fruits found in more temperate climates.

Longans, Lychee, Rambutans are sweet easy fruits for beginners. Check turgor pressure for freshness.

If you buy fresh jackfruit, it takes much work to get the flesh out. If you buy a 20 lb piece, it will take you about 40-60 minutes to take apart all the flesh your first time. When you are more adept, it'll take you 20-30 minutes including cleanup time. You need to have a large sharp knife to cut open (remember to put some vegetable oil on the knife to prevent stickiness. I also recommend using disposable nitrile gloves with a layer of oil while taking apart the flesh. You should get 5-7 pounds of fruit from a 20 lb piece. Wait for it to ripen before cutting (outside should have fragrant smell and the external shell should not be hard--similar to the feeling of pushing on a slab of London Broil).

I recommend buying frozen durian first before trying fresh. It is easier to see if you can handle the taste and especially the smell. If you like it, then you can buy the fresh. You need to work but it is easier than jackfruit. Just eat in places with good ventilation or in the privacy of your own home. Durian is my second favorite fruit.

Mangosteen is my favorite. Make sure you buy fresh by smelling it and the shell should not be too hard. If too hard, it means that the fruit is old. Lots of antioxidants in this one. Both of these fruits tend to be expensive this side of the Pacific.

Seafood selection is good in many Southern California Asian markets and tend to be less expensive than even Costco. They will clean the fish for you the way you want. Live lobster and Dungeness crab are available in many places around here.

The meat selection is dependent on the store. Some Korean stores have really high grade beef. Some other stores carry grades lower than USDA select. You can also get adventurous meats like Goat/Duck/Lamb and parts like tongue, hearts, liver, etc.

Lots of snacks for you to try. I personally prefer Asian beef jerky and dried cuttlefish. There are places here that specialize in dried foods with almost a hundred choices of different meat jerkies, dried cuttlefish/squid/octopus/fish, dried/salted/spiced fruits--a snacker's delight.

More varied and less expensive mints/herbs/garlic/scallions/onions.

Good luck and enjoy the flavors. If you have any Asian acquaintances, they may be able to assist you. Much easier if you have personal guidance.

I'm glad I can contribute something for someone who has contributed so much to the Boglehead community. With Bogleheads' assistance and encouragement, our family has finally hit the 2 comma club in invested assets after having a negative networth 10 years ago.

moneywise3
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by moneywise3 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:41 am

I don't recommend buying at Asian stores. No traceability for where the stuff came from, how old it is, or how trustworthy the labels are.

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VictoriaF
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:04 am

moneywise3 wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:41 am
I don't recommend buying at Asian stores. No traceability for where the stuff came from, how old it is, or how trustworthy the labels are.
I travel extensively and eat local food. I am more concerned about the additives in the labeled food.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

jodydavis
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by jodydavis » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:13 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:39 am

The reason for my questions is that the Asian cuisine seems too complex for my preferences. And people, like the woman in the Vietnamese store I mentioned in the OP, emphasize the need for elaborate preparation, sophisticated sauces, and other work. I am looking for 80/20 solutions: maximum nutrition with minimum effort. I have created an optimum diet using groceries from Costco, Whole Foods, Mom's, and a local Safeway. But recent visits to Asian food stores have opened new opportunities, which I'd like to explore on my own terms.

Victoria
Many home preparations (as opposed to restaurant preparations) of asian foods are quite simple and tasty, satisfying the 80/20 rule. We cook at home reasonably often, and none of our most common go-to recipes have more than a few ingredients. Some possibilities:

1. Asian vegetables are easy to steam/stir fry and are very flavorful, as compared to western veggies. E.g. pea pod stems (dou miao), chinese broccoli, bok choy (large and small), etc. Simply steaming them or stir frying with a bit of garlic and soy (or oyster sauce), and you are all set.

2. Stir fries combining vegetables and a maybe a protein (chicken, shrimp) are very quick and easy, and don't need any elaborate sauces (just soy, or maybe oyster sauce).

3. Pickled items can be very flavorful and tasty, e.g. kimchi, etc. Also, a good hot sauce can do wonders. My favorite is Lao Gan Chili Crisp, which you can use for dipping (e.g. dumplings, etc.) or in a stir fry. https://www.amazon.com/Lao-Gan-Chili-Cr ... B0051D84JU

4. Asian markets often have items that can be used to flavor rice. Furikake topping makes rice very flavorful, and you can combine with a simple protein like tuna, or a fried egg, some avocado, etc. Similarly, look for small packages of roasted seaweed, which you can use to wrap rice in.

5. This isn't as fresh, but take a look at the frozen dumpling section - often a huge variety of different dumplings, which are very convenient in a pinch.

Good luck exploring!
J.D.

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VictoriaF
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:15 am

Hyperborea wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:51 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:50 pm
WhiteMaxima wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:19 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:27 pm
I wanted to buy some natto, Japanese fermented soybeans.
You sure you like to try natto? Supposed to mix with rice and eat. Just like westerns like blue cheese. These stick soybean will bring very interesting flavor to your taste.
I have very simple taste and I can eat anything. I became interested in natto after reading about its extensive health properties, and particularly containing vitamin K2 for the bone health.

Before I went on a tour of Asian stores I bought a package of natto at a local MOM's (My Organic Market), where a portion costs $4.50. I tried it, appreciated why most non-Japanese people may not like it, and decided that for me it will work just fine.

Now, I am sampling the varieties I've bought at the Asian supermarket. The average price is just over $1, and the taste is similar to that from MOM's.

Victoria
There are quite a variety of flavours in natto. They don't all taste the same. I've had one that even tasted somewhat like strong black coffee. I'm not a big fan of it but I don't hate it either - just neutral. You find it as a breakfast item in Japan and you eat it either on its own or over rice. The usual condiments are soy sauce, a hot mustard, nori (dried seaweed) cut into little strips. or chopped green onions. You don't use the wet condiments (soy sauce or mustard) if you have it over rice.

The Japanese hot mustard is called karashi. Often in a tube marked からし. It's pretty strong and can really get into your nose. It's the same mustard used for oden or tonkatsu.

Very interesting! Did natto taste similar to black coffee on its own or with a sauce?

I limit my carbs consumption and don't eat rice. I made an exception to natto because of its nutritional value. Most natto I tried so far I ate plain out of the box. A couple times I mixed it with a sauce that was provided in the container. It tasted richer, but I am ambivalent between plain and flavored versions and plan to continue with the plain ones, unless it's something interesting (natto as black coffee!) or a particular sauce is considered healthful.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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lthenderson
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:48 am

I'm not sure I could list all the things we buy from an Asian grocery store but since my spouse is asian, it shouldn't be surprising. To get an idea of what to buy, my suggestion would be to watch cooking shows or Youtube videos on cooking various asian dishes and learning what ingredients are needed for each dish.

In my experience with our local Asian store, the vegetables sold there are superior to the ones at our domestic grocery stores because they are generally much fresher. Same goes with the seafood.

moneywise3
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by moneywise3 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:58 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:04 am
moneywise3 wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:41 am
I don't recommend buying at Asian stores. No traceability for where the stuff came from, how old it is, or how trustworthy the labels are.
I travel extensively and eat local food. I am more concerned about the additives in the labeled food.

Victoria
Eating local while you are in Asia is different from buying at Asian stores in US. There is no accountability to what they put on labels, and for how many weeks it has been in the containers at 130 F. What kind of plastic it is packaged in, with what toxins and how clean were the guys that packaged the food in the first place.

roamin survivor
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by roamin survivor » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:34 am

Woman in OP was sort of right; very few vegetables in Asian cuisine is eaten raw and even then, it's as an accompaniment. However, as already mentioned, it's not too complicated to cook: usually steaming or stir-frying is the way to do it. Quality is the main issue; think of it like a farmer's market. This stuff is usually packaged straight from the field, not really as highly scrutinized as western companies.

I live in a heavily Asian CA city, so prices are dirt cheap, but it's not close by so I my trips are limited. When I do it's:

- Vegetables: bok choi, chinese broccoli, yardlong beans, asian mushrooms. Really good value, like several bunches for less than $2.
- Soy: $1/block for tofu. Also, miso.
- Rice: It's my staple and works out to almost $.50/lb with the 25- and 50-lb bags. Even the brown rice too.
- Dried Noodles: Much healthier and cheaper than the common ramen packages. Even splurging on the more exotic and tastier packaged noodles is better than the just the meat-flavored spice packet.
- Sauces: So many and again, much cheaper. Soy sauce, sweet chili, fish, oyster, hoisin, mapo dofu, fried garlic, (actual) mirin, teriyaki, tonkatsu.
- Coffee: Cafe du Monde and Old Man Condensed Milk
- Bread: Not at the market, but often there are asian bakeries next door that I have to get a fix at. Melon, green onion, pork floss, yakisoba, curry, garlic toast, etc.

I really think my living situation is severely limited to asian market proximity.

ccf
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by ccf » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:15 am

natto
miso paste
good short grain rice
dumpling wrappers (frozen)
kewpie mayo

fresh noodles

gochujang and doenjang
rice cakes (frozen)
naeng myun
kimchi
prepared korean side dishes

whatever fruit and veg looks good
fun sweets for the kids

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Hyperborea
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by Hyperborea » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:44 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:15 am
Hyperborea wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:51 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:50 pm
WhiteMaxima wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:19 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:27 pm
I wanted to buy some natto, Japanese fermented soybeans.
You sure you like to try natto? Supposed to mix with rice and eat. Just like westerns like blue cheese. These stick soybean will bring very interesting flavor to your taste.
I have very simple taste and I can eat anything. I became interested in natto after reading about its extensive health properties, and particularly containing vitamin K2 for the bone health.

Before I went on a tour of Asian stores I bought a package of natto at a local MOM's (My Organic Market), where a portion costs $4.50. I tried it, appreciated why most non-Japanese people may not like it, and decided that for me it will work just fine.

Now, I am sampling the varieties I've bought at the Asian supermarket. The average price is just over $1, and the taste is similar to that from MOM's.

Victoria
There are quite a variety of flavours in natto. They don't all taste the same. I've had one that even tasted somewhat like strong black coffee. I'm not a big fan of it but I don't hate it either - just neutral. You find it as a breakfast item in Japan and you eat it either on its own or over rice. The usual condiments are soy sauce, a hot mustard, nori (dried seaweed) cut into little strips. or chopped green onions. You don't use the wet condiments (soy sauce or mustard) if you have it over rice.

The Japanese hot mustard is called karashi. Often in a tube marked からし. It's pretty strong and can really get into your nose. It's the same mustard used for oden or tonkatsu.

Very interesting! Did natto taste similar to black coffee on its own or with a sauce?

I limit my carbs consumption and don't eat rice. I made an exception to natto because of its nutritional value. Most natto I tried so far I ate plain out of the box. A couple times I mixed it with a sauce that was provided in the container. It tasted richer, but I am ambivalent between plain and flavored versions and plan to continue with the plain ones, unless it's something interesting (natto as black coffee!) or a particular sauce is considered healthful.

Victoria

It was on its own. I'm afraid that I don't have that much info on the brands or which ones (even if you could buy those ones in the US) have a particular taste. As I said, I'm kind of ambivalent about natto so the only time I eat it is when it's put out for me. So, that's when staying with family in Japan or at a ryoukan (traditional style Japanese inn). It's part of a traditional breakfast that often has a number of small dishes - rice, miso (or maybe some other kind of) soup, maybe natto, maybe some leftover fish, nori strips (sometimes used to make impromptu rice rolls), pickled vegetables, etc.

The coffee tasting natto was one that an older relative in the countryside used to eat just about every breakfast and I did too when I stayed with him 20+ years ago. For all I know it was made locally and impossible to find elsewhere. But all the different natto that I've had there's been a range of tastes so if you are determined to keep eating it you can try changing up the brands to find a flavour that you like.

The local Japanese grocery stores (we have a half dozen in easy range) have it in the freezer section as well as fresh. I have seen something similar at the local Korean grocery stores (we have several of those too) and I think many of the east Asian cultures have something similar. Not sure if they taste different or are pretty much the same. Might be something for somebody on a natto quest to try.
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by WhiteMaxima » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:02 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:50 pm
WhiteMaxima wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:19 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:27 pm
I wanted to buy some natto, Japanese fermented soybeans.
You sure you like to try natto? Supposed to mix with rice and eat. Just like westerns like blue cheese. These stick soybean will bring very interesting flavor to your taste.
I have very simple taste and I can eat anything. I became interested in natto after reading about its extensive health properties, and particularly containing vitamin K2 for the bone health.

Before I went on a tour of Asian stores I bought a package of natto at a local MOM's (My Organic Market), where a portion costs $4.50. I tried it, appreciated why most non-Japanese people may not like it, and decided that for me it will work just fine.

Now, I am sampling the varieties I've bought at the Asian supermarket. The average price is just over $1, and the taste is similar to that from MOM's.

Victoria
Have you ever try thousand year old duck eggs and stinky tufo? Once you pass these taste, you are a truly asian food lover.

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by HueyLD » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:12 pm

I buy stuff I like that are not available in regular stores.

FWIW, Asian food stores can be very different, depending on the ethnicity. (Chinese, Japanese, Indian, etc.)

And yes I also pick up good quality chopsticks and kitchenware there.

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by Christine_NM » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:15 pm

I buy Chinese goat and sable watercolor brushes that aren't sold in art supply stores at Talin Market (local asian market).
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:33 pm

Hyperborea wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:44 am
The local Japanese grocery stores (we have a half dozen in easy range) have it in the freezer section as well as fresh. I have seen something similar at the local Korean grocery stores (we have several of those too) and I think many of the east Asian cultures have something similar. Not sure if they taste different or are pretty much the same. Might be something for somebody on a natto quest to try.
Thank you for the additional information!

The packages I've bought at MOM's and Good Fortune (a large Asian grocery store) were all in the freezer section. I did not know that fresh natto may also be available. There is a Japanese store in D.C. that I plan to visit when I am in the area. I'll also look for Korean stores. In a Korean store, should I ask for "natto," or use another name?

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:35 pm

WhiteMaxima wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:02 pm
Have you ever try thousand year old duck eggs and stinky tufo? Once you pass these taste, you are a truly asian food lover.
Did you mean "tufo" or "tofu"?

My attitude to food is not love; it's a mix of health and adventure.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by WhiteMaxima » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:38 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:35 pm
WhiteMaxima wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:02 pm
Have you ever try thousand year old duck eggs and stinky tufo? Once you pass these taste, you are a truly asian food lover.
Did you mean "tufo" or "tofu"?

My attitude to food is not love; it's a mix of health and adventure.

Victoria
i am sorry. It should be tofu.

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by Hyperborea » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:28 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:33 pm
Hyperborea wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:44 am
The local Japanese grocery stores (we have a half dozen in easy range) have it in the freezer section as well as fresh. I have seen something similar at the local Korean grocery stores (we have several of those too) and I think many of the east Asian cultures have something similar. Not sure if they taste different or are pretty much the same. Might be something for somebody on a natto quest to try.
Thank you for the additional information!

The packages I've bought at MOM's and Good Fortune (a large Asian grocery store) were all in the freezer section. I did not know that fresh natto may also be available. There is a Japanese store in D.C. that I plan to visit when I am in the area. I'll also look for Korean stores. In a Korean store, should I ask for "natto," or use another name?

Victoria
I'm not really sure about the Korean name but a quick search brings up a Wikipedia page on natto that does give the Korean version's name - cheonggukjang (청국장). What I do like to get at the Korean market is some of the many kinds of kimchee or pickles. The one near us has a sort of self serve area with the couple of dozen varieties available and you box it up yourself. Often get it when we are doing yakiniku (grilled meat - thinly sliced and cooked at the table) at home.
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by itstoomuch » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:54 pm

Off Topic but related;
What do you buy at Hispanic food stores? We have one on the corner of our new place.
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by remomnyc » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:21 pm

- Condiments: Yamasa brand soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, and sesame oil
- Staples: kimchee, miso paste, gochujang paste and flakes, dashi
- Meat: LA style short ribs or flanken, sliced pork shoulder, pork belly
- Produce: Asian pears, bean sprouts, Kirby cucumbers, and whatever looks good when I'm there
- Misc: Seaweed packs, dumpling wrappers, sweet potato starch noodles, dried shitakes

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by praxis » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:28 pm

Victoria,
Can you share some ideas from your optimum diet, please?

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:49 pm

I removed some off-topic comments and replies related to food quality from Asia. As a reminder, see: General Etiquette
We expect this forum to be a place where people can feel comfortable asking questions and where debates and discussions are conducted in civil tones.

... At all times we must conduct ourselves in a respectful manner to other posters. Attacks on individuals, insults, name calling, trolling, baiting or other attempts to sow dissension are not acceptable.
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by VictoriaF » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:16 pm

praxis wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:28 pm
Victoria,
Can you share some ideas from your optimum diet, please?
The "staples" of my diet are as following:
Proteins: eggs, chicken, salmon
Milk products: plain yogurt, plain kefir, cheese
Vegetables: salad greens, broccoli, cauliflowers, avocados, others depending on availability
Fruits: apples, various berries
Nuts and seeds: walnuts, chia, hemp hearts
Fiber: "Scandinavian Bran Crispbread"
Oils: olive, coconut
Teas: black, green, white
Water, including European mineral water
100% cocoa chocolate
Natto - latest arrival.

Note the absence of sugar and sugar substitutes, deserts, potatoes, chips, bread, grains, pasta, soft drinks.

The above list is what I buy for home. When I travel or attend dinners, I eat other things.

Victoria
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by jucor » Sun May 13, 2018 8:27 am

[Previous post removed, thread merged into here. See below --admin LadyGeek]

I buy the following in "Asian" -- Indian, Chinese -- food stores:

Rice
Legumes of various sorts
Loose leaf teas
Spices
Some vegetables -- chois, daikon (a type of radish), etc.

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by AlohaJoe » Sun May 13, 2018 8:31 am

This post is curious. I've reported it, though I admit I don't really understand it.

It is a direct copy & paste of VictoriaF's post from October 2017: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=229812&hilit=asian

I can only assume this is some kind of spamming or prelude to spamming or spambot gone wrong? I dunno.

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by Allixi » Sun May 13, 2018 8:46 am

I thought this post looked familiar!

Stuff I typically buy at Asian markets:

Korean ramen - more expensive, but less greasy than Chinese and more flavorful than Japanese ramen. Add some dry noodles and vegetables of your own.

Various greens - A-choy, bok choy, gailan, canola leaves, pea sprouts - you can saute or stir-fry any of them in canole or grapeseed (NOT olive) oil with either garlic/ginger or sichuan peppercorns. Yes they should be cooked.

Chinese versions of vegetables - eggplant, celery, radish - cooked differently than American versions. Look up recipes on internet

Various fungi - trumpet mushrooms, enoki/straw mushrooms, wood ears (dried) - can be worked into any strong-flavored stew

Herbs - MUCH cheaper than American grocery stores

Silken tofu - American stores usually only carry medium or firm versions - use in soups (Japanese miso or Korean jjigae)

Seasonings/toppings - furikake (rice seasoning), fried onions or garlic

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by alex_686 » Sun May 13, 2018 8:53 am

Find a cooking class. Some Asian food stores will do that or will partner with a kitchen shop or farmer's market that does.

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by The Wizard » Sun May 13, 2018 8:55 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 8:31 am
This post is curious. I've reported it, though I admit I don't really understand it.

It is a direct copy & paste of VictoriaF's post from October 2017: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=229812&hilit=asian

I can only assume this is some kind of spamming or prelude to spamming or spambot gone wrong? I dunno.
That's incredibly weird, good catch...
Attempted new signature...

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by LadyGeek » Sun May 13, 2018 9:03 am

^^^ Yes, thank you. The post has been removed, we'll take care of it. The replies have been moved into VictoriaF's thread to continue the discussion.

AlohaJoe - Thanks for the report.
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by jlawrence01 » Sun May 13, 2018 2:57 pm

Since the last post:

Fresh herbs - the local market has bunches of many herbs for under $1
Coconut Milk - the Thai varieties tend to have fewer additives than those in most supermarkets
Rice - Many different varieties at a reasonable prices
Thai / Viet / Filipino soy sauces and other condiments
Thai bananas
Frozen shrimp and seafood
Noodles
Okra

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun May 13, 2018 4:32 pm

Chinese preserved duck eggs. White and black.
Chinese oyster sauce.
Hoi Sin Sauce.
Fish in a can (leongee>?)
Lupcheong.
"Humgnee?spel" dried fish to be steamed.
dried tiny orange shrimp in a bag
furikake all types

j

"Thanks Victoria" :D
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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by Dontwasteit » Sun May 13, 2018 4:35 pm

Chicken wings...$1.99lb

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by freckles01 » Sun May 13, 2018 4:52 pm

The Wizard wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:50 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:39 am
itstoomuch wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:32 am
Victoria,
Does it really matter on what and how you prepare the food. It is food. and If you dont like the preparation, prep another way the next time.
This is true, itstoomuch.

The reason for my questions is that the Asian cuisine seems too complex for my preferences. And people, like the woman in the Vietnamese store I mentioned in the OP, emphasize the need for elaborate preparation, sophisticated sauces, and other work. I am looking for 80/20 solutions: maximum nutrition with minimum effort...
I tend to agree on keeping things simple and somewhat intuitive in Oriental cooking.
My staples are simply sesame oil (both plain and spicy), chili garlic sauce, and the Chinese holy trinity: ginger, garlic, and scallions.
The main course items are in addition to the above, of course.

I have other spices and sauces around but I can't say that I have a good gut feeling for what they do for me. When should oyster sauce or five-spice powder be used, for instance?
i grew up going to the many large korean supermarket chains in los angeles- they're like regular supermarkets to me, plus we have a huge thai market nearby has prepared snacks/meals and lots of stuff that i did not grow up with so its fun to buy a random item and try to use it. i love wandering around east indian and middle eastern markets too!

learn to make a few sauces to braise, for salad dressing/dip or for a quick stir fry. then add a side of rice/noodles/quinoa and there ya go- fast meal!

on weekends, there are many many food samples given out by the korean ladies- its a good way try new food items and idea for cooking.

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by Koogie » Sun May 13, 2018 6:36 pm

If by "asian" you are including Indian/Bangla stores:
- fresh garam masala. they have such a high turnover in spices and spices need to be fresh.
- fresh paneer. DW loves paneer.
- better quality basmati rice.
- fresh chapatis.

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Re: What do you buy in Asian food stores?

Post by njdealguy » Sun May 13, 2018 8:18 pm

Buy mainly fresh fish and shrimp, particularly at H-Mart, as find prices and variety are often much better than mainstream American grocery stores as well as even Costco.

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