I love going to Chinatown. Not for the knockoff bags or cheap souvenirs, but for the food. Keeping kosher, I only get to sample a small percentage of the variety, but still it is a culinary gold mine. I love the variety of produce (especially the long beans!) Our favorite place to eat is Buddha Bodai, the vegetarian dim sum restaurant that happens to also have kosher certification. The food there is excellent, and a welcome change from your average kosher food.
It also happens to be around the corner from the Thai grocery store, so we go when I need to stock up on Thai produce to make curry paste. (It lasts for several months in the fridge and allows me to make an amazing 10 minute meal with pantry/freezer ingredients and no advanced planning, what’s not to love?)
Yesterday we went to pick up some kosher dim sum to take to some friends. Even though I am running low on curry and Thai ingredients, I knew that I wasn’t going to have time to make curry paste before we leave town today, so I bypassed the Thai grocery store and didn’t plan on getting much for us.
However, it was my lucky day. Walking by the fruit vendors I spotted bags of hard purple fruits nestled among the more standard lychees and longans.
Mangosteens!!! Almost impossible to find in this country, these amazing fruits were just sitting there, ready for me to take them home! Truly the most intriguing fruit I have ever eaten, I couldn’t believe my luck at finding them. (The baby, though he seemed to enjoy the mangosteens, preferred the cherries and blueberries we got from our CSA later in the day.)
At the next stand was a man selling jackfruit. Even though it looks like the much more noxious durian, the flesh of the jackfruit is sweet and firm, tasting like a cross between a mango and a pineapple. In Thailand we ate it stuffed with sweet stick rice, but it was just as delicious plain.
All in all, a great day for fruit. I may have to go back next week and see if I can get some more!
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Recipe Page: http://www.couldntbeparve.com/2008/07/17/bountiful-plenty-of-chinatown/