Asian food store may seem like an unfamiliar territory but it is definitely fun to check out and see what you can find in there! Find out what’s in the store besides soy sauce and tofu.
I enjoy checking out Asian stores just because I love seeing what they’ve imported from Asia and if it is authentic. It’s like a scavenger hunt! I love checking out all kinds of markets around the world wherever I go because I find it fun to see things I’m familiar with and things I’ve never seen before.
I often find myself wandering in dim little stores between cramped store racks. It is quite an adventure and sometimes with great rewards(Cheap, fresh and organic spices!).
There are a few Asian food stores in Rochester, MN but I find “Asian Food Store” the most convenient for me and more organized. They have the most variety in Asian groceries in Rochester.
I can often find Taiwanese and Chinese ingredients at the Asian food store. The store also has a large collection of SE Asian ingredients- Thai, Vietnamese; and a pretty good selection of east Asian ingredients from Japan, and Korea. When they say “Asian Store” it usually means everywhere but India. Indians have their own grocery store elsewhere with a store full of Indian goodies.
The store is sort of cramped(well, Asia is a big place) with fruits, veggies, condiments, spices, noodles, tea, deli and even a woks pots plates(and rice) section in the very back.
SO, the question is, what’s Asian food store good for besides soy sauce?
We love simple and plain noodle with just soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil or Mala Hot Sauce. It is fast and tasty. And if you’re gluten free, there’s a huge selection of rice noodles to choose from and I was shocked that they even have fresh ones in the fridge.
Ones that’s not in a can!! AND there are options! Either you want it soft, firm, extra firm or “dried bean curd”(豆干,dou4gan1, extra dry and firm tofu) they have it all.
Herbs and Special Veggies
Not just basil and western herbs! There’s Thai basil, Vietnamese cilantro, mint, perilla, Thai chili, lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves. Everything you need to make a authentic Thai, Vietnamese or Taiwanese dish. They also have rare veggies such as banana buds, green papaya, green mangoes, taros, bitter gourds and more!
This seems obvious, but there’s a SERIOUS variety of rice and a better price too. Sticky gluttonous rice, black forbidden rice, short grain brown rice, white jasmine, brown jasmine, basamati, Taiwanese rice that’s grown in California, Koshihikari rice from Japan(If you’ve done any research on rice, you’ll know that this one’s FANCY! One of the most expensive kind of rice in the world. My dad swore that it tastes 100 times better than any other rice.) Rice comes in big bags and small, so if your family eats a lot, this is a good place to get a good deal.
Soy sauce. Just kidding. There is soy sauce, but there’s so much more than just soy sauce! There’s chili bean paste you need to make Mapo Tofu;, there’s fish sauce, coconut milk and curry paste to make delicious Thai food; there are broth cubes to make an instant broth for Pho; black sesame oil to make San-Bei Chicken, or to add some flavor to your noodles.
One of my favorite condiments is the “vegetarian oyster sauce” that’s made from mushrooms. My mom got me into it, it is great because it can easily replace soy sauce, but it’s less salty and has a little sweetness that adds another depth of flavor to the dish. It is also stickier so it coats the ingredients better. I like dipping my dumplings into it as well.
Special cuts of meat
If you’re into pig’s liver, chicken feet, gizzards and such this if your heaven. Most of these come in frozen form, I haven’t purchased any so I can’t tell you how good they are. But now you know where to find interesting cuts of meat. 😉