I’ve been so inspired by Asian food lately! I’ve been craving that fantastic pho since I had it, and I can’t wait to go back soon. I also recently went to an amazing Thai restaurant called Kunya Siam– my pictures were not so amazing, so that’s why I didn’t write a blog post… Next time I go I promise I will blog about it because it was really something special! Seeing tons of food photos from my friend Daphne’s travels in China and Japan and my friend Julia’s food photos from Hawaii (which is apparently an epicenter of Asian cuisine!) have also really inspired me! Asian flavors are so diverse and exciting, and I just can’t get enough!
For such a long time I had heard about HMart– THE Asian food store of New Jersey, which is located in Edison! It’s renowned around here as the hub of Asian food, and so I was thrilled when my friend Melissa offered to take me around! The food store is huge, and it also has a food court and a couple of restaurants next door! First, we went around the food store so I could bring home some yummy souvenirs! Here’s what I got:
- Shrimp pops- Soon after we walked into HMart, I saw these because there were some laid out for samples. I tried them, because I’m up for anything, and I thought they were great! They’re kind of cheeto shaped, but with a crunchier texture, and they vaguely taste like shrimp– an interesting flavor for a snack that I thought I loved. I really thought buying a bag of Shrimp Pops was a good idea. When I got home and opened the bag, I was hit with a tidal wave of fishiness… I really didn’t remember them being that fishy when I tasted them in the store. I actually ended up throwing them out. Oh well…
- Brown Rice Green Tea (Gen Mai Cha)- This is my new favorite tea! I absolutely LOVE it. Brown rice tea has a nuttier, more savory flavor than regular green tea, and it’s so good for you too! I’ve been drinking it every day lately even though it’s hot out because it’s so calming and delicious.
Instant Coffee- I didn’t expect to buy coffee at an Asian market, but Melissa (and pretty much anyone who knows me, actually) knows I loooove my coffee, so she recommended it! This instant coffee takes instant to a whole new level– it has the milk and sugar in the packet for you already, so literally all you have to do is mix it into hot water. I’m so very lazy, so this is perfect for me. I don’t usually like sugar in my coffee but I like this anyway! I wouldn’t replace my daily morning coffee with this because it’s not that strong, but it’s an nice treat!
Japanese Green Tea Oreos- I’ve had these before and I was so excited to find them again at HMart! The green tea filling is sweet, but not too sweet, and the cookies are thicker and cakier than American Oreos, so they’re almost like mini whoopie pies! It’s a good thing they’re wrapped in individual packets because without that portion control, I would probably eat them all in one day!
After walking around the store, we went to lunch next door at So Kong Dong Tofu House! Korean restaurants often serve little side dishes called banchan before the main meal, and these were so yummy! I especially loved the spicy pickled cucumber! There was also a fish cake with vegetables, a salad, bean sprouts, and kimchi.
For my meal, I ordered the beef and tofu stew! It came to the table in a piping hot bowl, of bubbling, steamy goodness. (picture above). They serve raw egg on the side that you crack into the stew and stir in so that it cooks inside the soup! (post-stir picture below). I loved that! The stew was filled with silky tofu and flavorful ground beef. On the menu, they have you choose what heat level you want, so I chose mild. I probably could have been okay with medium, because it just slightly spicy. I’m happy I started with mild, but next time I’ll know I can handle a little more spice! The portion was huge, but before I knew it, I had almost finished it! I think I was just enjoying it so much that I didn’t realize how much I was eating, but I somehow pretty much demolished that bowl. And I enjoyed every minute of it. The prices at SoKong Dong were really good, and the food was amazing!
Even though I was full from my stew, I still reeally wanted bubble tea! So, for dessert we went next door to Paris Baguette! It seems a bit out of place because it’s a bakery and really has nothing to do with Asian food, but that’s where the bubble tea was and so that’s where I wanted to be! I got a mango bubble tea smoothie. I liked that the bubbles in this bubble tea were chewier than the others that I’ve had. It was super refreshing too! I definitely want to come back when I’m not as full to sample the delicious looking pastries there!
Enjoy! Love, The Perky Foodie