There’s nothing like the smell of fermented beans on a chilly evening. Well, unless you count the tangy musty odor of an old boxing glove. I exiled myself from the kitchen after my Japanese roommate over-nuked fermented beans in a defrosting attempt gone wrong. It brought back the horrific memory of sniffing an old boxing glove before an MMA Bootcamp class at the gym: gagging and choking ensued.
I’m an adventurous eater, but the combination of this memory and my olfactory sense completely turned me from fermented beans and from my kitchen. I went to my freshly Febreezed bedroom, Glade candle lit, with a sticky beer stein I got at Addison’s Oktoberfest filled with hot German Christmas wine. And I could still smell it.
The fermented beans are one of the spoils (haha) from our shopping trip to Hong Kong Market, as Asian food store in North Dallas. It’s located in a shopping center filled with Asian businesses, and on a gloomy Saturday afternoon we decided to see what we could find. I love exploring ethnic food markets because there’s always something I’ve never seen before.
Hong Kong Market was no exception, and Hong Kong Market, like fermented beans, has a pretty distinctive smell itself. Because of its fish section, the whole store smells somewhat like a fish market. I got used to it quickly so it didn’t bother me. It kind of reminded me of the smell of my grandfather’s bodega/butcher shop in New Jersey. In my earliest memory of him, he is standing by the pastries in tall glass jars wearing his bloody white apron, letting me pick something out for free.
There are a ton of Asian products to choose from so it’s fun to browse. The English translations on the packaging can be really amusing as well. Most of the people shopping there were Asian so that’s a good sign. The prices are on the low side, especially compared to buying Asian products in regular grocery stores, so I stocked up on things such as soba noodles and dried seaweed. I was pleased to find old favorites, like the Koala cookies I used to like as a kid and puffy coconut milk snacks (bahn men?) that a college friend bought from home for me one time. The produce section has some deals, but I eyed it warily since some of it didn’t look great.
We also bought a bamboo steamer on impulse which we immediately used for dumplings when we got home. I’ve also since then steamed broccoli and salmon for a very healthy dinner. I haven’t been to any other Asian grocery stores in Dallas so I have nothing to compare it to, but it seems to be an authentic place with a large selection. I certainly wouldn’t mind going back next time the mood strikes for Asian cuisine, or I need to find something specific.
*It’s been an Asian-themed week. Check out my review of Deep Sushi on Yelp.