January 28, 2007

Things We Like: Asiana Market

Asiana Market

It’s where I go locally for my Asian ingredients.

After making a Pad Thai from a box earlier in the week and watching an Alton Brown “Good Eats” episode on Pad Thai and then encountering an “easy” Pad Thai recipe making the popular link rounds, I figured it was some sort of message.

Unfortunately, you need a number of things to make Pad Thai which I didn’t have. And some of them aren’t in the local supermarkets. Tamarind paste, dried shrimps, rice sticks, palm sugar, fish sauce, thai chilis…

Sounds like it’s time for a trip to the local Asian market.

I had trouble finding a local Asian market in the Fall River area. There is a neat noodle factory in Fall River which I will have to post about sometime soon, and the people there are very friendly and they do sell a few other Asian dish ingredients. But if you’re doing any serious Japanese or Thai cooking you need more variety.

For that, I need to go to East Providence (See the map) to the location of Asiana Food Market.


Click to see ingredient notes.

So, K and I set out and bought all sorts of fun ingredients. Asiana Food Market certainly has a variety. Many kinds of rice, noodles, dried ingredients, sauces, frozen roe and fish, fruits and exotic ingredients.

We can’t make it out of there without getting Pocky (for the girls) and fruit flavored gummies for me (I like the lychee and the kiwi best).

I always end up spending quite a bit when we make a trip. The prices seem fair, but I don’t know of another nearby Asian market, so it avoids a trip to Boston. And it’s especially economical to buy a 17 or 20 pound bag of rice if you’re getting the good stuff. Sushi rice is horribly overpriced in the supermarket.

And they’re helpful at Asiana. One of the men who works there saw the ingredients I was buying and asked me if I was looking for rice noodles. I told him I wanted tamarind paste, and he explained to me that I had put potato starch noodles into my basket (from the ingredients I was gathering he figured I was making Pad Thai). He showed me where the correct noodles were. Oops! And then he led me to the tamarind. I can’t read Korean, Thai, Japanese, Chinese or Tagalog. Most of the packages have English descriptions, but for some you’re relying on sight-identification.

The market is small. Maybe 20 feet by 20 feet or so, and chock-a-block with products. The aisles are narrow, but at least you don’t have to walk far to find everything.

I didn’t end up making Pad Thai because Maggie had had the previous leftovers for 3 meals. So that will wait for another day. Instead, we had a stir fry and spicy shrimp tekka maki. Pad Thai will wait for another day.


Posted by James at January 28, 2007 10:42 AM
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A spicy shrimp maki sounds like a pretty good consolation prize to me!

I thought I saw tamarind paste at Shaw's, but I could be wrong...

Posted by: Julie at January 28, 2007 2:28 PM

They might have it there. I'm seeing more and more Asian ingredients in the supermarkets. I don't go to Shaw's often, so I wouldn't have seen it.

I know you can get hoisin sauce, oyster sauce and a couple of different types of soy at Stop & Shop. Maybe even fish sauce, who knows? Also, probably rice noodles and dried thai peppers.

Posted by: James at January 28, 2007 3:05 PM

I was amused by the label on the shrimp which read:

Dried Pink Shrimp
Ingredient: shrimp
Contains Shellfish

Covering all the bases, apparently.

Posted by: James at January 28, 2007 3:48 PM

Yes, you can get fish sauce at S&S, and rice noodles just about anywhere. Not sure about the peppers. It's way more fun to hang around an Asian market, anyway, but it's nice to know that it's getting easier to find things locally, too.

Posted by: Julie at January 28, 2007 3:50 PM

True. Plus, there's more variety at the Asian market. You can choose which soy sauce you like, and you can often get it in a larger size. I want the big light soy sauce for cooking. And I like this particular light soy better than others I've bought.

I would have no basis for comparing fish sauce, though, because this is the first time I've bought it. The only thing I know about it is that it's pungent, smells fishy, is full of salt and is supposed to be clear amber, not murky.

Posted by: James at January 28, 2007 4:27 PM

Many ingredients that I can't find in Stop and Shop I can find in Whole Foods instead. I used to pick up some stuff from Wegmans (like fish sauce), but now that liquids are barred from carry-on luggage that's out for me.

Posted by: mjfrombuffalo at January 28, 2007 4:29 PM

I was having trouble finding certain ingredients at Whole Foods Market in Providence and an employee there referred me to Asiana. That's actually how I found it back in 2003.

Asiana is a little closer to my house than the closest Whole Foods Market. About a 15 minute drive.

Posted by: James at January 28, 2007 4:36 PM

You can also learn how to cook Pad Thai and about 30 other Thai dishes here
It's got Thai cooking videos for each dish you can watch on your computer

Posted by: Ernie Geefay at January 28, 2007 11:59 PM

There is a Cambodian market in the Flint section of Fall River which should have the ingredients that you are looking for. The name is Psar Leu Market, the address is 1100 Pleasant Street.

Posted by: semass at January 31, 2007 4:02 PM

Thanks! I'll check Psar Leu Market out!

Posted by: James at January 31, 2007 4:54 PM

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