Learning to cook has meant branching out of the frozen food aisle and venturing into the raw ingredient aisles. Today, it also meant branching out of my regular grocery store. It’s road trip time! I took a trip to the International District to gather up supplies, and a little inspiration, for my latest project and first series: Asian Inspired.
I’m lucky enough to have one of the biggest, most comprehensive Asian markets right near my doorstep in downtown Seattle: Uwajimaya. I mean this place is huge! Midwest folks, think the Meijer of Asian markets. I have to admit, I feel a bit like a fish out of exotic, tropical waters when I go there because this is the real deal. This is where the asian community shops. And while I’m expanding my knowledge about asian cuisine, I’m definitely not an expert yet. Far from it!
Luckily, no one cares! It’s just fun to wander the aisles and look at all the unique stuff that you simply can’t get at QFC, Publix and Meijer. For instance, where else can you buy whole roasted ducks in the deli?!
The asian market has the biggest selections of fresh seafood I’ve ever seen in a grocery market: live crab, live lobster, live tilapia swimming around, octopus, and some of the biggest fresh oysters I have ever seen!
The dry food aisles are so colorful. Fun/exotic snacks, cakes and cookies. But check out the noodle aisle. Oodles and oodles of noodles. This is not your average selection of ramen. Joe loves these even though they give him wicked heartburn. (Just don’t look at the sodium content!)
You can find rows and rows of dried mushrooms… (mouth starts to water!)
Seaweed paper for Sushi! (One day I might work up the courage to try rolling my own california rolls!)
Plus, look at the cute check out bags!
This was our haul: We got some Saki cups. This place has a pretty significant homeware area with pans, chopsticks and cute dishes and bowls. We also picked up a few noodle packets, shrimp dumplings, cookie boxes, and ingredients to make homemade Crab Rangoons: stay tuned for that in an upcoming edition.
After all the browsing and shopping, take a load off and let someone else do the cooking. Uwajimaya has its own food court with completely authentic Korean BBQ, Vietnamese, Thai, and Hawaiian options. This can be a little intimidating too since I’m not sure what everything is. Fortunately, my good friend Liz has recommended a few dishes for Joe and I to try. But this is an adventure, right?! Toss out road maps, pick up your chopsticks, and dig into something you’ve never had before. This is the place to do it!I’ve already devoured the Pho.
If you have an asian market in your area, I recommend taking a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to check it out. Pick up some unique snacks or dinner ideas. It’s also a fun place to expose your kids to another culture – It just might make grocery shopping fun again.