Tag Archives: ingredients

Golden Pacific Market: a treasure trove

I love–and let me emphasize love–my local Asian grocery store. Since college, I have shopped at many: the 10th street store, Saraga, and the College Mall store in Bloomington, Indiana. Wang’s Oriental Food in Newark, Delaware. And now, here in Chicago, I have found this blissful paradise: Golden Pacific Market on Broadway Avenue, merely 2 El stops south of us.

It’s the best Asian grovery EVER. It’s large. It’s well lit.

Lemongrass, Thai basil, shiitake mushrooms, Chinese broccoli, galangal, Chinese cabbage, baby eggplant, Japanese eggplant, Thai red chilies . . . it’s enough to send me into a fit. A fit of Asian joy.

The employees (or maybe they are the owners?) speak English, and can help me find hard-to-locate ingredients. They accept credit/debit cards with no minimum charge. The aisles are wide enough for a cart. They have absolutely everything. When I go there, I’m in heaven.

The only less-than-heavenly part is climbing onto the Broadway bus with 6 bags of groceries that you can barely carry.

Yes, you will always leave with way more than what you planned on getting. But the red welts on your arms and hands will all be worth it as soon as you get home to your kitchen and can create the most fabulous dishes: Panang curry. Thai red curry. Pad See Ew. Delectable stirfries.

I went there a couple weekends ago to stock up on my basics, and ended up with a tablefull of stuff for a $58 total:

The prices are unbeatable: dark and light soy sauce, for about $2 per bottle.

Ok, the Wasabi peas were a spontaneous buy. But at $3 for a large, large tin, I couldn’t resist.

Have you ever tried them?

Pure green addiction.

These lime leaves will go into my Panang curry–I can’t wait.

Cheap ground pork for Ma Po Tofu.

Coconut cream (not to be confused with cream of coconut or creamed coconut) for a thick, wonderful Thai curry.

And of course, I couldn’t resist getting some new things to experiment with: glutinous rice (to make sticky rice). I’ve been adoring it from afar for way too long–it’s time to get down and dirty with that rice in my own kitchen.

Ginger syrup.

How helpful–the bottle informs me that it’s an ‘all time favourite.’

It is such an inspiration to come home with new ingredients–cheap ingredients–that you can experiment with to your heart’s content. I’ve been reading about Sriracha sauce for ages. It’s all over the blogging world, and now I’m going to try it myself.

These mushrooms are funky.

I bought four varieties to make some kind of delicious mushroom fry–crimini, shiitake, and white beech, as well as the weird little guys above, known as either “Enoki” or “the freak-shaped thingamagings.”

Though I must admit I’m afraid to ask the question that the above picture begs: what does it mean when a mushroom is described as ‘high tech’?

Maybe they are so high tech that we should start preparing our defenses against their carefully planned attack of the world, which will start in my very own refrigerator while I am sleeping tonight. I guess if I don’t show up with a post on Monday at 7am sharp, you can assume these mushrooms have something to do with it–in that case, please send a SWAT team at your earliest convenience.

And the pre-peeled garlic: yes. Yes, yes, yes. It makes me add 8 cloves where I would normally use 5. Peeling garlic is one of my banes. I always do it when my hands are kind of wet, the peels stick to my fingers, and I get extremely claustrophobic.

I knew I’d be hungry by the time I got home, so I also bought some instant soup with udon noodles. You prepare it just like ramen noodles, but it’s 50 times better.

As I boiled some water on the stove, I noticed that the stovetop was getting quite greasy.

“That’s disgusting!” I exclaimed. “Who’s responsible for this disgrace of a kitchen!?”

Then I realized that it was me. “Well,” I muttered, “it’s getting completely out of control. Someone had better clean up his or her act.”

I find it comforting to sermonize myself. It makes me feel very wise. Wise and prudent.

I chopped up part of a green onion for some fresh crunch. It was the perfect lunch: quick and satisfying.

Do any of you shop at your local Asian grocery stores? What are some of your recent ingredient finds?

Tuesday I will be posting a recipe for Pad See Ew, made from some of the lovely ingredients purchased: wide, flat rice noodles. Soy sauce. Garlic. Chinese broccoli. You don’t want to miss it.

In case you’re confused, the message of this post can be boiled down to the following: get your buns to your nearest Asian grocery and indulge your creative side.

And I’m sorry I just ordered your buns around–but try to remember that it’s for a higher good.

Have a great weekend everyone!