Chinatown 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

5.31.13 Orient Express

It was a sweltering day in the city yesterday but I had a bee in my bonnet about getting down to Chinatown to score some young ginger. I was so inspired by this post but I despaired of getting my hands on the right ginger, and then a Japanese friend told me the Chinatown street vendors had it. Having lived in close proximity to New York City's Chinatown in my time, I'm quite familiar with how the heat ratchets up its already heady perfume and by midday it was quite ripe. But so were the beautiful tropical fruits!

It's been two years since I was in Asia (remember?) and I yearn to traipse through sultry streets to foreign markets where unknown produce is piled high and the sweet scent of tuberose mingles with those of smoke, sweat and cooking. How amazing it is to feel like a visitor in an exotic land just walking up and down Canal Street. If you've never shopped for mangoes, yellow chives or fresh lychees down there, you must treat yourself to the experience.
Tagged — rambutan
Vegetables 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife & george billard

3.27.12 Best Lei'd Plans

I was hell-bent on eating poi during my Hawaiian vacation. You know me, always determined to have that authentic experience. Guess what? No luck. The restaurant scene on the Big Island is kind of bleak. The place voted the island's best was resoundingly mediocre. Lilikoi (that's passionfruit) is ubiquitous, except it wasn't in season and overly-sweetened concentrate was being used for everything from cocktails to custards. Just not the same. And why not serve the amazing guavas, mangoes and strawberries that were colossally fresh and delicious? Well, because many Hawaiians, like their fellow mainlanders, have let go of much of their traditional, locally grown food and now rely on processed crap. Poi, a starchy paste made from fermented taro (or sometimes breadfruit), and traditionally eaten with fish was not on any restaurant menu. I didn't see it at any of the markets we visited, either. Foiled! We ended up cooking at home quite a bit since our rentals were equipped with pretty good kitchens and we ate well, mostly thanks to the beautiful farmers market in Hilo.
Tagged — rambutan