Saturday, June 16, 2012

Out And About: Chinatown Market

The beau and I recently stopped in Chinatown  to grab a bubble tea and to walk around a bit. While walking I decided to stop in Chinatown Market which is a little grocery store that's right off of the Red line Cermak stop. Though, I've been to Chinatown plenty of times, I kind of avoided this store; And I'm not sure why. Maybe because it looks a little small and dumpy. But I've been to plenty of stores and markets that are dumpy and end up finding awesome stuff. Anyway, I walked in and was a little overwhelmed. There was soooo much stuffed into this little store. The shelves were packed to the gills with teas, herbs, spices, beverages, candies, dried fruits, etc,.... I was not prepared for all of this. So I quickly grabbed some random herbal beverage and got out there. Plus the aisles were pretty narrow and the store was somewhat crowded. I decided I would go back when it was less crowded and I had more time to look around.

Well,  I went back and this time it was earlier in the day. There weren't many people in the store so I took my time looking around.  I found plenty of interesting items  that I wanted to try/buy and plenty of others (like preserved chicken eggs) that the westerner in me wouldn't think of trying.  There were loads of teas, herbal elixirs, fresh produce, and preserved fruits. There were also a lot of snacks and candies which were a little healthier and less processed than some of the snacks that you'll find in a conventional grocery store; and a lot cheaper than what you'll find in a health food store. There was also a frozen section, a deli and a little area  with beauty products that I didn't have time to look at.  So I'm sure I'll be headed back to check out what I missed. Here are the  few things that I did pick up; all for about $11. And I wanted more but that dang budget flags waves high and mighty these days (it's really real).

What I got:

Left to right:
Common Self-Heal Fruit Spike Drink
A beverage made with Prunella Vulgaris and other herbs/roots. Tasted a bit like cola without the fizz. And was a little sweet. I can remember if it was sweetened with sugar or honey.

Grass Jelly Drink
A beverage made with grass jelly and other ingredients.

Honey Pomelo dry fruit
Dried pomelo fruit with sugar and gelatin. These were tasty but upon reading all of the nutrition facts (which I usually always do but didn't this time) I was disappointed at the amount of calories and sodium (240/220) that one piece contained :-/

Green Tea Pumpkin Seeds 
Pumpkin seeds coated with green tea powder and salt. Not bad but I found myself getting tired of the taste after a couple handfuls.

Temple of Heaven Green China Tea Special Gunpowder
Loose green tea

Meiji Milk Chocolate Bar
Average chocolate bar

A few more photos:

Do you shop in Chinatown where you live? or other ethnic markets? Let me know.

P.S. I kinda wanted to try the durian chewy candy. I figured that would be the closest I'd get to trying the infamous fruit.

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