Four times a year we walk through this door…our senses come alive. The smell of an Asian Market, every aisle densely packed, packages written in many languages, pungent smells from every corner. All too familiar for me…seems like the roads I’ve traveled years ago in my hometown… memories of the past.
Ever been to an Asian Market for a cultural experience and some sweets, spice, condiments and exotic meat and vegetables?
Let us bring you into the doors of one…
Surprisingly there are not much differences in Auckland, Melbourne, London, Toronto,New York or Tampa when it comes to the varieties of food, housewares and spices in the Asian markets. Most products are imported from mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. Look at this white fungus from China, an ingredient for soup:
The variety comes in the type of fish in the tank. Here is a school of fish. One could be on your dinner table:
Then there are the prepared foods like ducks and the bakery shown below:
One of our favorite roasted pork-filled bun:
You have read or heard about MSG (Monosodium Glutamate). But have you seen one in packages? These are sold all over the world, made in Japan. I'm sure you will find one in an Asian Market near you:
As you walk through the cold aisles with frozen prepared or raw food, there are rows of exotic vegetables and fruits. One shown here is called bitter melon. One I hated while growing up. Now, I seek it out...an acquired taste...the bitterness gives you the 'kick' and the reminder of the 'trials of life'...
Our purpose of being there was to get glutinous flour to make Japanese Mochi. Imagine, flour is from Thailand with English, Vietnamese, Thai, French and Chinese labels..the diversity...
And a Japanese recipe. Look at the steamed dough:
Red bean paste made in China, filling for the mochi:
These were made by my friend's kids and my daughter, not pretty but edible:
Our recipe for Mochi:
1 3/4 cups of glutinous flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups room temperature water
Mix above ingredient and steam in a plate for 15 minutes in boiling water. Place 1/2 cup glutinous rice in a pan and pan fry the dry ingredient on slow heat for 15 minutes. This is for the outer coating (like using powdered sugar).
Remove the steam dough and let cool.
Scoop a tablespoon and roll them out in a plate, add 1 teaspoon of red bean paste and close it up. Roll it on the pan fried flour.
Ready to eat!
Have you been to an Asian Market? Let us know your experience. Please leave your comment
Photo credit: Bethany Looi. You can find her at http://www.ontaskva.com