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.