5.10.2016

The Secret Spot in Watertown That Will Make All Your Asian Food Dreams Come True

A couple weeks back, I made a big deal out of one of the vendors at Watertown's Taste of the Town: Asian Market. This little store has been on State St in Watertown for years, and I'd never been inside. Maybe because that part of State St isn't the best area of town, or maybe because I get very intimidated about going into Asian markets without an Asian chaperone. 

Whatever the reason, feeble or otherwise, Asian Market's presence at the food festival gave me a chance to meet the shop's owners and get a taste of what they have available. Boy, was I blown away. At the event, the married couple who run the market were cooking up killer beef bulgogi marinated with one of the jarred sauces they sell in their shop, plus jarred kim chee that was some of the best I've ever tasted, and a bunch of fun aloe vera drinks that I expected to taste kind of insipid and gooey, but which instead were sweet and refreshing.



The next day, finding that the store was open (surprise!) on a Sunday, we dropped in. I was impressed right away by how clean and organized and bright it was inside, and by the stunning array of fresh produce, frozen meats and seafood, and multi-cultural goods from all over the far East.

 
You can get just about every variety of rice or noodle you could possibly need to prepare Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Laotian, Jamaican, Philippine, or Vietnamese food. But also: rare delicacies like fresh quail eggs, slabs of pork belly, tiny dried shrimp, baby bok choy, Chinese broccoli, bitter melon, and all kinds of cool mushrooms (dried and fresh).


Looking for Korean chile powder and other Asian spices in large quantities for low prices? Start hanging out here. Still love ramen, but want it less junky and more authentic than the 48 cent packages at Price Chopper? They carry about six or seven Japanese and Korean brands (Sapporo Ichiban is my favorite). Always wanted to try green tea matcha Kit Kat candy bars? They have your hook-up for tons of cool, odd candies! I feel like this place is a secret den of all the delicious treats I can't find in the regular grocery store.

The friendly owner even helped me find the best brand of rice wine he had in the store. The label is entirely in some other language, so I never would have been able to find it on my own. Look out, stir fries! If you make stir fry at home, you can also get really good soy sauce here, like Japanese tamari, which is dark soy, plus lighter soys and shoyu. 


I get down on the north country sometimes for being a bit one-note in its food scene. You've certainly read me making fun of the fact that chicken parm is on every single menu up there, whether it's an Italian restaurant or not! So finding a spot like Asian Market, catering to the folks in NNY who use these products in their home kitchens, traveling and importing to stock items their customers couldn't possibly find in a local grocery store, fills me with glee. I nosed around on the shop's Facebook page, because that's how I roll, and found people making requests for special products and those requests actually being fulfilled! And to know the proprietress can make such fantastic food out of the products she carries!! It's just too good to keep a secret. Let's not.

I stocked my kitchen with items from Asian Market just a few weeks ago, and already I'm excited to go back with a cooler so that I can bring some meats and fresh items home with me. So let's spread the word on this very cool resource right here in our community. I hope you check it out and let me know what you think! My personality is big; my hunger is bigger!


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