The Asian Grocery Store: A Whole New World

October 12th, 2010
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If you consider yourself a “foodie” it’s a good chance you’ve run across a recipe or two with some ingredients that you’ve either never cooked with before; or worse, never even heard of. This happened to me recently when I happened upon a recipe for Japanese mayonnaise. Hmmm, I wondered, how is this any different from American mayonnaise? I was soon to find out the answer to that question plus a whole lot more as I ventured to my local Asian food market.Once inside I was like a kid in a candy store noticing sights, smells, and colors I had not seen before. The produce alone was mesmerizing. Bamboo shoots, bok choy, bean sprouts, and kang kong. The beverage aisle revealed delights such as chrysanthemum tea, sake, and soju. And a trip into the seafood aisle put me face to face with sea cucumbers, shark fin, and abalones.But, I was on a mission, remember? I needed to find Japanese mayonnaise. Rather than asking for it, however, I took full advantage to go up and down each aisle in my search so I could take full advantage of the sensations that greeted me (and dare I mention the pastries that tempted me)?As much as I hate to admit this, I was unable to locate the mayonnaise on my own (maybe because I was hell bent on imagining it to be packaged similar to that which I find in an American grocer), so I had to ask. Sure enough, I was escorted directly to it and there it was in a smallish-sized squeeze bottle that did not resemble any packaging I had seen before.I took my prize home and cooked one of the most fabulous dishes my husband and I have ever tasted scallop stuffed portabella mushrooms. To die for, I tell you. Stay tuned and I’ll post the recipe; but in the meantime get to an Asian grocer to buy the mayonnaise!

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