Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth (if you like kimchi)

It's no secret that I grew up munching on a variety of Asian dishes. (Still do, in fact.) However, it can be difficult to find a decent Asian foods store. I mean, come on now- any corner store can carry soy sauce and long grain rice. I'm looking for something more substantial. I want some Bao, damn it!

So you can imagine my near-giddy delight when my friends Margi and Jared offered to take me to the mecca of Asian grocery chains: H Mart.

It's a little slice of heaven.
(Or Nirvana.)

H Mart is only located in a few cities in the US, so I was ecstatic when I found out that there's one located just outside of the city. The only kicker is that because it's the only one in a 50-mile radius, the place is PACKED. And for good reason: H Mart has one of the most extensive produce sections I've ever come across. Exotic fruits and veggies for days, man! There was a kimchi counter and a woman making the stuff right there in the store. I hate kimchi (I think it tastes like feet), but couldn't help but be impressed by it all.

The store carries durian fruit. I almost bought it, but I really like not throwing up at the smell of my food.

Margi handling some extra-impressive zucchini.
At least I think that's what they are

We spent a good amount of time trolling around the aisles, looking at this and that when I came across a box of something I'd never seen before:

A bit weird, right? Turns out these tribble-looking beauties are a type of friut called rambutan. I have never encountered these before (I thought they might be lychee at first), but a woman behind us went all kinds of nostalgic at the sight of them and described how you pick, prepare, and eat them when you want a sweet snack. (Apparently, you cut off the spikey husk and eat the flesh inside.)

I picked up two to try later.

This photo makes my husband giggle every time.

Unfortunately, the rambutan got lost in the shuffle of holiday leftovers, and I wasn't able to get to them in time.

After I spent a good 10minutes making a selection from a wall of soy sauce options, my ride and I picked up some frozen odds and ends and then made it back to the city. I was in Hello Panda heaven the entire trip home.

And now, for your recipe.......

A while ago I decided to use up the last of some farmer's market apples with a recipe I had come across on the Darjeeling Dreams site: Skillet Apple Cake.

It's very easy to make, though I feel the cake part could be a little more moist. However, the dryness in my attempt may be due to the size of my skillet. I suspect the portions in the DD's recipe are intended for an 8-in skillet. Mine is 12in. Next time, I think I'll double the batter.
You can check out the recipe by checking out Darjeeling's site here.
Winter has officially come to Baltimore after sneaking in the back door, so this week it's all about warm foods, spiked cocoa, and stockinged feet. Possibly some crochet projects. In the meantime, I suggest you buckle down, catch up on past episodes of The Walking Dead if you've haven't yet, and then enjoy the musical stylings of Adele's latest single, Rolling in the Deep.

1 comment:

Sally said...

why have you not told Emily and I where this magical kimchi making lady is?!