Thursday, January 14, 2010
Asian Market Finds: Noodles New to Me. Canned Butter Too (Again).
I was on one of my semi-regular trips to the new-ish Asian Market on Central Ave. when I spied a giant stack of the above noodles. I picked up a package and was intrigued by the pliable texture. The "Kyoto Noodle (brand I think) Shanghai Yangchun Noodles (noodle type I think)" are somewhere between dried and fresh. I bought them on that first trip and boiled them up in a little stock with some roast pork, I was duly impressed. Since then I have bought them a couple of more times, these are some badass noodles. They only take 3 minutes and have a lovely texture, toothsome but tender with a nice noodly body. I did a little research but couldn't find out much about this particular variety. I was hoping that a reader who is an expert in Asian cuisine might be able to drop some knowledge on me as to how these noodles are utilized.
Somewhat surprisingly, I came across some French canned butter.
I am into shelf stable products, see my earlier discussion of Red Feather canned butter and cheese, and thought that canned butter was a funny thing to come across in an Asian market. So, as I am prone to do, I purchased out of curiosity (I was, coincidentally, out of butter too). A little research led me to the fact that the Frentel brand butter is very popular among the Vietnamese, a legacy of French colonization there. This made its presence in the market less enigmatic. I popped the little red can open.
As with last time I had canned butter, I was very surprised by the high quality. This is very good butter. For some reason I just don't expect good butter to come from a can, but perhaps this is a superior method of storage. I guess if you thing about it maybe the wax paper and cardboard packaging common at the grocery store isn't the most effective. As we know, oxidation is the enemy of butter (why my beloved butter bell works so well), so maybe a can is a good solution.
I finally got around to purchasing a container of Pork Fu which I always forget to do.
Pork fu is cooked, dried, and shredded pork. It is used as a condiment in dishes such as congee, but I decided to try another common application that I have read about which is on buttered bread. Luckily I had the can of Frentel described above. The result was pretty much what you would expect, a salty pork jerky sandwich. Pretty good, but not something that will become a regular part of my diet. However, I think the pork fu might add a little zip to a bowl of noodles.
Another random thing that I picked up was some Filipino peanut butter.
Three ingredients in the jar: peanuts, cane sugar, salt. I admire simplicity. Spreading this stuff on some toast I found, as I have found with many Filipino products, there is a very heavy handed use of sugar. This stuff is thin and candy sweet, but not in a bad way. I like the flavor of the cane sugar that came through, it is something different.
I got a couple other things, but I thought I would share some of the highlights. I have had a lack of time to cook lately, so I have been eating lots of quick Asian noodle dishes. I try to make additions to make these a little more palatable/healthful so look for a noodle post coming soon.
On a side note, Daniel B. over at the Fussy Blog will be posting on the Times Union's Guilderland Blog. Check it out.