Around the Puget Sound there is a great little chain of supermarkets called Central Market. In addition to featuring great produce, a solid selection of wines – bottles from Europe and South America but also Washington and Oregon – and a mile-long wall of wonderful coffees, they’ve got an intriguing “international” section, mostly featuring the culinary favorites of fellow Pacific Rim cultures. I dove in.
Following are a few highlights. Central Market does not have online shopping, so I’ve given you the links where you can order these products.
TAZA Chocolate is a brand that is actually based in Massachusetts – however, they’re making a traditional Mexican-style chocolate using stone mills that is certified organic and free trade. Plus, it’s kosher. The chocolate is soft and a little airy, and you can discern the stone ground chocolate granules. There are a few different flavors, I bought two discs of Guajillo Chile for $4.50, the sweetness is followed by a mild-mannered blast of heat. Excellent.
I bought something called Salty Seed ($2.50) from Kaj’s Products, a Chinese outfit out of Honolulu, Hawaii. Central Market carried a full array of snacks from Kaj’s, the kind of treats you find in Chinese candy/dried plum/nut stores. Seeing the ingredients on the Salty Seed read “plum, salt,” I thought I knew what I was in for. Unfortunately these snacks were impenetrable to the teeth (like a seed – could I not read?) and salty beyond what is humanly endurable. If you know how to enjoy Salty Seed and care to share it with me, I’m dying to learn.
Lastly, I picked up a package of Vietnamese tapioca sheets, beautiful little tortillas that turn opaque when used, perfect for showcasing vegetables and proteins inside your spring rolls. These are pre-cooked – all you do is wet them, brushing them with a paper towel, before folding up your rolls. They’re a little sticky. You can get them at amazon for $3.19. Thanks, Pham Fatale for a great spring roll recipe. NPR posted an article on “more” things to put into tapioca sheets.
And this wraps up my exploration of food shopping in the Pacific Northwest. No complaints here.
Happy hunting . . . Anne