Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Going Shopping - Amaya Oriental Market

We do most of our shopping at the co-op where Matt works.  However, we were pretty excited when our buddy, Josh, clued us in about the fact there is a dedicated Asian grocery store here.*  Amaya Oriental Market is, unfortunately for me, located pretty much across town, but none the less Matt and I made a jaunt up to the heights recently to check it out.

We were very pleased with the excursion, too, I must say.  There were loads--and I mean loads--of things that I've not seen for sale anywhere locally--brands and products.  There were brands from China, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, and more.  There was liver paste in a can (no thanks) and giant bags of dried galangal.  There were frozen ducks and cans of vegetarian sausage.  We had to restrain ourselves from buying an absurd amount of noodles.  There were noodles I'd never even heard of before!  We bought some that are made from tapioca...no wheat or rice involved.  We picked ourselves out a fantastic little treat for the drive home--coconut rolls--which were akin to a light butter cookie (Matt says a krumkake), but made out of coconut and palm tree-like shrub called pandanus.  Again, I'd never even heard of it before.
The Haul:  A can of toasted coconut water, two styles of rice noodles, coconut rolls, black bean sauce, fermented black beans, yellow curry paste, red curry paste, canned vegetarian sausage and vegetables, two styles of rice noodles, a pack of chili lime raman, dried shiitakes, saffron, tapioca noodles.
There were certainly products in there that I'd avoid either because they're made from animals (lots of fish and pork) or loaded with preservatives and other things I cannot pronounce, but there was plenty that was totally up my alley.  We got a yellow curry paste that was just divine--and made of ingredients I could totally picture such as lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, etc.  It is fantastic with breakfast potatoes--about a hundred times better than the rather generic (but widely available) Thai Kitchen brand we've bought in the past.  We got a can of salted black beans because we'd never had them and they periodically pop up in our Asian cookbooks.  I bought a can of coconut water with toasted bits of coconut swimming around in it.  They sell this sort of drink at Siam Thai, but I'd never considered that it might be a Thai equivalent to a can of soda.
This is the Cha'i Cha'rng (wheat-based sausage with bamboo shoots and various mushrooms) from the can on the left in the photo below.  We tossed it with rice stick noodles (also from Amaya) and Spicy Garlic Toss.
We got the most ridiculous bargain on saffron.  I admit it is likely not the highest grade, but still!  Beautiful golden saffron!  There were also a bunch of different mushrooms.  We got a substantial bag of dried shiitakes for like $3.  It was crazy.

The woman working was very friendly and helpful.  The computer system was down and she was adding up everything with a pad and pen.  She didn't seem at all ruffled by this.  There was a TV in the corner playing some foreign-language program.  That was interesting, too.  We're not known as a real diverse community, but more so than one might think, I guess.
*Note:  For years we've been aware of a small shop, of sorts, in the backroom of our favorite restaurant, Siam Thai.  They sell the products they use in cooking at the restaurant--rice noodles, curry paste, tapioca, fish sauce, etc.  We hit it up every time we visit Siam Thai, though the selection is a bit limited.  It always feels a bit weird to me, too, just making my way into the backroom, stepping around the vacuum or whatever else is stored back there, and poking around on the shelves.  I always feel obligated to ask first.  I can't just bring myself to barge into the backroom of my own direction.  Don't get me wrong.  The Siam Thai Market is totally cool, just with a pretty narrow scope.  It is a Thai market, not an Asian market, and a pretty tiny one at that.  It is much more conveniently located for me though.

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