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Hong Kong Market, Federal Way, WA

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    Hong Kong Market, Federal Way, WA

    I really had a time deciding where to put this post - Hong Kong is an Asian Market chain here in WA that I recently shopped at. I was asked to write a bit more about my experience there. WillTravelForFood

    My first legitimate shopping trip to an Asian market. My goal was to make, an authentic as possible, Chinese Char Siu pork marinade. I did my research, I found a recipe, rather an amalgamation of recipes, that I could achieve and sounded good to me. I can provide references if anyone is interested. I took screen shots of most likely brands I would encounter based on my research, which turned out to be very helpful.

    Every ingredient I needed were not to be found at a Fred Meyers or Safeway (prominent traditional grocery stores in my geo). In fact, most of the things I bought do not have any English on the packaging. Talk about intimidating.

    I guess that may be why I have not been to more ethnic markets, be them European, Mexican or Asian. It is outside of my comfort zone and beyond my knowledge. The trouble is, I have missed out on so much great food and learning due to my own anxiety.

    Anyway, I went shopping, I got my things I needed and nothing else happened. I’m not sure what I expected to happen but there was some hesitancy on my part. I have no story to tell, no great revelation. Nobody looked at me as if I didn’t belong there. Boiled down, that was probably my biggest hang up – to be the outsider, the fool. Silly right? That's when I remembered "Every Master was once the fool." or did I just make that up?

    It was another trip to the store.

    Hong Kong Market is amazing though. They have a small working kitchen with some deli items. Char Siu chicken hanging in the warming cabinet. Rows and rows of interesting ingredients, treats, candies, snacks, sauces, drinks, packaged entrées, noodles, noodles, more noodles. Cool looking cooking gadgets, tea pots, woks. The aroma !!- all the produce, the fish, the cooking from the deli…I will never forget that. What a wonderful smell!

    The best looking selection of chicken I have ever seen at a grocery. Tons of chicken- quarters, breasts, thighs, wings, whole, halves. The produce….Oh my, I walked around there for 20 minutes just looking at what this or that was. So many fruits and veggies that I had previously only seen pictures of. Herbs and greens that I have no knowledge of at all. Peppers and chilies that burned my heart just looking at them. I had never seen a Jackfruit until that day. I’m gonna buy one just to know what it tastes like, and they look positively devious! Imagine a black spikey watermelon!!

    Then I was over in the seafood area – one whole wall of the store. Packed with fresh fish on ice. Some fish that I had heard of, mostly not. Clams purging in a giant tank. Live crab.

    In short, I was blown away. My mind expanded, my fear, reluctance, anxiety, call it whatever, assuaged and a whole new world of culinary possibilities opened up to me.

    Wonder what else I’ve been missing in my life. Thanks for reading!




    #2
    Similar experience here. I moved here in 1999 and never went into the local Asian market until a few years ago. We have a large Vietnamese population and this is the major Asian market here: Saigon Market. It is not nearly as big as the one you described (small meat market, limited produce) but - Wow! - lots of goodies. And an entire row dedicated to noodles! Last weekend I bought some of the nicest green onions in town and some really big shallots (way cheaper than the local chain stores). They have a small deli with good Bahn Mi and other foods. Bulk spices galore. I'm a regular now. And it is less than 1 mile from my house.

    There is one Vietnamese dish that a friend told me about. He just calls it "Galangal" which is a main ingredient. It used a charred pork leg. Apparently this is the only Vietnamese market this side of California that chars the pork to order. My friend will have to come with me when I order it, the meat counter workers don't speak English.

    Right up the road from them is a primo Vietnamese restaurant. Always a big lunch crowd from the refineries.

    Lots of great Latin markets and restaurants here too.
    Last edited by 58limited; July 16, 2022, 03:27 PM.

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      #3
      Yeah there are several oplaces like that north of Seattle and it's a revelation as to how many different ingredients and foods there are in a large, dedicated Asian market. Now to find something like that for Central and S American foods...

      Comment


      • Philotius
        Philotius commented
        Editing a comment
        Oh yes! That would so great!!

      #4
      Yes - lots of stuff I had never seen before for sure. And the produce at the closest Asian market to me seems to have better produce at a cheaper price than traditional groceries, (TGs).

      One standout was pineapple. Although a bit smaller than at TGs, they were much nicer looking and my wife thought the one I bought was very good.

      Another eye opener was a jar of tiny eels in a sauce. The eels were about 1" long. I did not purchase them though - no recipe and I ain't gonna look for one either.
      Last edited by RonB; July 16, 2022, 03:20 PM.

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      • Uncle Bob
        Uncle Bob commented
        Editing a comment
        Eel really is wonderful, fried crispy, a treat. My mother was from Naples, so the seafood Christmas dinner was a norm. Many years we'd have eel swimming in the sink before preparation. Be bold brother.............................

      #5
      For shopping trips like this, Google Translate can be your friend. Just fire up the app, switch to Camera Mode, and let the app do the figuring out for you.

      Sounds like many repeat visits are in your future Philotius . Experimentation with new ingredients can be fun!

      Don't worry about the jackfruit, we've been told it doesn't really have much of it's own flavor, but will take on whatever flavor it's marinated/cooked with -- so, like a "fake meat".

      Comment


      • Philotius
        Philotius commented
        Editing a comment
        It looks sooo cool though!! It belongs on a Death Star banquet table!!!

      #6
      Very good write up of your experience. When we lived up there Uwajimaya was the go to Asian market short of going to the International District in downtown Seattle.

      Now that you've "broken your cherry" so to speak, remember, experimentation is learning. The possibilities are endless, or so it seems.

      Here's a link to a YT vid from a gal who specializes in Thai cooking, but she recently posted on effectively shopping in an Asian market where Americans are unfamiliar. While she focuses on Thai food products, much of what she suggests has crossover value. Thai Chef Takes You Grocery Shopping! - YouTube

      Comment


        #7
        FWIW Mexican markets are easy, even if the label is in Spanish (or any of the Latin languages really) for the most part it will spell or sound like what you want.

        Asian and Cryillic stores would probably mess me up. My favorite stores have always been the Asian markets, though there was a Polish store when I lived in the UK that was absolutely amazing for getting meat... I'd just point at stuff and not worry what it was made of

        I'm glad you took the risk, you have so many new toys to play with in the culinary playground now

        Comment


          #8
          I frequent two markets near me. HMart (mostly Korean, but has other Asian products, too). And Mitsuwa which is predominantly Japanese. At first, they intimidated me a lot. Now I just take pictures of the ingredients in a recipe and just show the stock people. And they are mostly Mexican! So I can get by with my broken Spanish in an Asian market.

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