December 15, 2011 by Zuri
First, let me apologize for the lack of updates. I’ve been sick since the day after Thanksgiving with some kind of mutant plague I caught off one of the other guests (Thanks ever so much, you know who you are!) and I think I’m just about recovered from it. My throat still hurts when I swallow and I’m still a bit hoarse, but I’m not sure if that’s from the plague or my thyroid. Who knows?
Today we took a trip to our local Asian market – MD Oriental Market – on Fowler Ave. here in Tampa. It’s not far from where we live and they tend to have a pretty good assortment of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian items at fairly reasonable prices. From soy sauces and oils to curries and fresh fish, they’ve got a bit of everything. Today when Baron and I browsed the store, we discovered they had recently expanded to include another room in addition to the main store. From the looks of things, they had expanded their produce and frozen section to this new room, moved all the noodles as well, and added in a ready-made hot foods and pastry counter as well!
Today’s trip kind of had a goal. Baron wanted me to pick up some things specifically for me to cook and eat on my own while trying to keep with a vegetarian-friendly menu. We were also cautious to label check as much as we could for high sodium levels and high fructose corn syrup.
Even though upon walking through the door, you’re met with boxes upon boxes of cookies, candies and snackies, we beelined straight for Aisle 1 – produce! There were a lot of really tasty looking fruit, but we passed on it for the time being. In hindsight, I should have picked up a few pears. They were huge! We skipped on over to the vegetables, and found plenty to choose from. I first picked up a package of brussels sprouts. The price was better than the supermarket, and they looked a lot more uniform in size as well. I really liked my recent attempts at making roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar, and look forward to trying that again. We also picked up some orange bell peppers (the price was excellent!), snow peas and a bundle of nine bok choy heads. I’m not sure how I’ll use a whole nine bok choy, but hopefully I can come up with something. There were tons of mushrooms to choose from – and I love mushrooms – but we still have half a container of white mushrooms at home, so we passed for the time being.
Next we browsed the frozen items, and decided to come back at the end of our shopping trip (to avoid thawing of course!), and instead browsed the noodles. We picked up a box of udon since I’ve been out of it forever and I love the thickness of the noodles. These are really good with a quick stirfry or a peanut sauce. I also picked up a bottle of furikake (rice seasoning) from an endcap. After that, we figured we’d come back later, and proceeded to refrigerated goods. Like we often do, we browsed the section, considering different things, with designs to come back later in our trip.
The next aisle was full of oils and sauces. We needed to pick up a few things from this aisle, like sesame oil (again, much better prices than the grocery store!), low sodium soy sauce and some lime ponzu sauce. I was looking for some generic “stir fry sauce” but only found one, and it was oyster flavoured, so I skipped on it. Baron found green curry paste, and picked up a small tub of that for experimentation purposes.
Next we found ourselves in the cookies and candy aisle. I pretty much tried to ignore the candy side of the aisle, as I’ve been trying to behave myself with my consumption of sugar. This was hard, considering that they had those awesome fruit jelly candies that I have loved for years upon years (especially the kiwi flavour with the little seeds in it? OMG NOM!). I found a couple things, some lemon sandwich cookies and some onion crackers I plan on trying with my hummus. Hopefully they taste good.
We perused the tea, spices and rice aisle, but didn’t really get much except for a bottle of cumin. We also found the dofu on this aisle as well, so I picked up the almond and strawberry flavours. I haven’t tried the almond flavour, so I’m looking forward to that. We also picked up “peanut meal”, which looked essentially like ground up peanuts, and we’re going to try some experiments with that one too. Also found some cookies with plum filling and added those to the cart as well.
Now that we’ve reached the end of the store’s aisles, we backtrack to Aisle 1 again, and go back to the noodles. While browsing amongst the prepackaged ramen ickyness, we found some interesting stuff. A spinach ramen noodle and a mushroom ramen noodle in packages of four. They looked interesting, as I’ve never seen flavoured ramen noodles before, so we decided to pick them up. We also picked up a few other varieties of flavoured noodle so we were fairly noodled out by the time we left the new room off Aisle 1. We checked the noodle section’s chest freezers for vegetarian gyoza (dumplings), but only found one small package despite the huge variety of flavoures. We picked up that, and a chicken and vegetable gyoza in a larger bag.
Lastly we hit the refrigerated section again, which leads right to the checkout aisle. We picked up a container of red miso (again, for experimentation purposes!), and a few drinks for ourselves – thai coffee for Baron and thai tea for me – yum! No ramune this time – maybe next time.
In all we spent about $80, which was exactly what Baron had guessed we would. We still have to do more mainstream grocery shopping at our local grocery store. Hopefully when my cooking skills expand, we can shop a bit better. Thankfully we have a pretty good idea at this point what vegetables, fruits and groceries this particular store offers, and where we can get the best deals. Personally I love the variety of having an Asian market local to us. I look forward to using this resource even more as my dietary needs progress.