Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lee Lee's


You never know when you're gonna need a fresh packet of Telephone Brand Agar-Agar Powder.



There's an Asian market in the Phoenix area that I have wanted to visit for a long time, but have never made the trip. Today I decided to remedy that. The boys and I loaded up and visited Lee Lee's.

I had been warned that the smell of raw fish would assault me upon entering the store, so I wasn't surprised by that.

What I was surprised by were all of the different foods from countries other than say Korea or China.



I was definitely out of my element as I entered the first row. I congratulated myself on finding the rice noodles until I looked down the row and realized it was an entire aisle of rice noodles. Yikes! I asked a fellow shopper for help, but she didn't speak English all that well. The front of the store is different varities of rice in 20+ pound bags. (Jess, you would've LOVED this place!)

The produce was interesting too. Here you see Daikon and next to it is Korean Daikon. Let's be honest, I hate it when my recipe calls specifically for Korean Daikon and the market only has regular Daikon. The last item pictured (resembling cucumbers) is called Bitter Melon. Yum! Sometimes you get a good cantaloupe and you think, "Man, this is okay, but if it were bitter--that would rock!"


I didn't recognize most of the produce except for stuff I have actually cooked with. It's funny--these are Lychee. I would think finding canned lychee at all would be a big deal let alone having three different brands of Lychee to choose from.


The whole store was like this. I would find an item that I'd never heard of and there would be several different brands of that item. Who knew?

I walked away with some dark soy sauce--yes, there's a difference, yellow curry, coconut milk, rice noodles, and some frozen mango concentrate. I almost bought a bag of Jasmine rice, but it had no instructions anywhere on it. I assume it cooks the same, but you never know. Had the boys not been with me, I could've really explored, but a stay at home mom takes what she can get.
I drove a couple of miles away and walked into a different world.

13 comments:

Tiffini said...

sounds fun. i'd be interested in trying out the brazilian and indian food, too - something i've been wanting to try anyway.

Crystal Eldredge said...

My sister in law is from China. She makes of of the most interesting food I think I have ever seen. I was in charge of planning her wedding so we spent some time in there finding different things for the wedding. The smell was almost to much for me to handle I was pregnant and had a hard time!

Lara said...

We frequented Lee Lee's for luau fixin's. Here where we are now, there is a large asian population, but not hawaiian, so we had a hard time making luau food last weekend. We really had to improvise.

Love the picture. And the agar agar sauce. Whatever that is.

sweetsusan said...

of we go to Lee Lee's all the time--filipino food you know!!! I hope that you mean that you went to the store on Dobson and Warner--it is a cool place for all of your international cooking needs, that is for sure!!!

Amelia and Justin said...

We loved Lee Lee's! Yes, the smell is something to get used to, and I found that on Saturdays it was worse than on the weekdays. But, they did always have everything we were looking for when it came to international food needs. Very cool. Glad you enjoyed it.

Laura Law said...

Jasmine rice does cook the same--but I think it tastes much better. Also you should try a fresh lychee. i've never had canned but the fresh taste like a mixture of grape and plum.(It is a fruit)

DKAZ said...

We love Lee Lees. It's got all the stuff you need for a great Thai Dish. But nevermind us, we are excited for you to fix that Korean dinner with the Korean Daikon you were talking about. Oh, but we prefer Japanese Soy. Next I will take you for a Boba drink-YUM!

DKAZ said...

Jasmine rice-cooks the same, smells so good, taste better too. And, I even think it's a little bit healthier-SBD approved.

Devin said...

Those are some crazy looking vegetables.

wackywilsons said...

I would've loved to have seen you as a shopper taking the pictures :) I wonder if people ever do that at Wal Mart, and what would we think if everything was "normal" to us, and "foreign" to them. LOL.

Good for you for venturing out. I like to do the same thing in the latino markets...

Annie said...

ahh Lee Lee's! Love that place! You will love jasmine rice, make some soon and invite us! ;)

JLJ said...

I've always wanted to go to Lee Lees. My friend says its the only place to get thinly sliced chicken. I loved the pictures and commentary. Now I'll definitely have to go!

ps. Your kitchen looks fantastic!

Jessica Martiele said...

Finally I'm back on to read, and then this comes up and I think to myself, "AWE-SOME!!!!!!!!!" And then you mention me by name, as though you might even have thought of me while you were there! Awww. Thanks, Audrey. :) And bitter melon sucks, fyi...but there is a distinct difference in flavor between the two types of Daikon radish, and next time you HAVE to buy the jasmine rice; stick it in the rice cooker, equal parts rice and water (plus an extra couple tablespoons of water) and let rip. Tastes and smells better than regular short-grain. INFINITELY better.

Look at me, gettin' all food-like. Anyway, wish I could've been there with you, and thanks for thinking of me!