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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Weekend Cooking- A Visit to a Chinatown Grocery

This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.

Every year, our friends from Auburn, Barbara and Mike, come to visit during the San Gennaro Festival. We all have our favorites- sausage, peppers and onion sandwiches, pizza, cannoli, Peroni beer and hand rolled cigars.

This year we started out with a trip to the Hester Street Fair, which is close by and I had never been. It is much smaller than I thought, but they had some unique vendors. One woman made hair bands out of old, ugly men's ties, which were really cute. Another artist made necklaces and bracelets out of dried roses. They were gorgeous and so fragrant. The booth selling necklaces and earrings made from old teeth, yeah, I skipped that one.

One booth enticed us with the delicious smell of paella, made with chicken and chorizo. It was as lovely to see as to smell. If it wasn't so early in the morning, I would have tried some.
A lovely paella

We walked through Chinatown towards Little Italy, and a Chinese bakery caught my eye. We popped in and saw the prettiest little cakes there, I loved the pink fruit cakes.
Baked goods in Chinatown
My husband spotted an interesting storefront and we made our way in. In the front of the store was lottery machine, textiles and a wall of DVDs. But once you got beyond that, a bright, huge grocery store was there. There were so many vegetables I had never seen before, and if I was planning to make an authentic Chinese meal, this is the place I would shop.
Green bitter melon

Bright purple Chinese eggplant


Long squash (opo)

Chinese okra

The produce looked so fresh, but when we got to the fish area, a tank jam packed with tilapia ensured that my husband will never eat tilapia again.
Tilapia tank
The candy aisle was right by the checkout and bigger than any I had ever seen, filled with lots of treats that I'm sure the kiddies just beg Mom and Dad to buy. Interestingly, KitKat bars were the one American treat I saw.
Candy & cookies line the checkout aisle
We did make it to the San Gennaro Festival, where we didn't eat as much as we have in the past. But we'll end with a photo of cannoli from Ferrara, a famous bakery in Little Italy.
Yum- cannoli
The San Gennaro Festival continues through Sunday, September 22nd. If you have never gone, you should visit at least once in your lifetime. If you go early on the weekend, it's not too crowded.

The link to the San Gennaro Festival is here. 
The link to the Hester Street Fair is here. They are open on Saturdays from April through October.
More information about Chinatown is here.
My post from last year about our San Gennaro visit is here. 


  1. Looks like a fun New York adventure! That paella is beautiful. And I loved all the Chinese produce. I'd have to do some research to figure out what to do with bitter melon and opo squash.

    1. I would have to do a lot of research to use those vegetables, (I have no idea) but it would be fun.

  2. Diane, you have inspired me to go to a Chinese grocery store today! Cheers

    1. Can't wait to see what you create- have a good weekend!

  3. You always go on the best foodie adventures. Craving cannoli now. :)

  4. My neighbor uses the bitter melon to make a soup. Her mom lived in Chinatown for many years, and now lives with them. Ellen says that her husband and kids will not eat it, but she and her mom love it. I might have to go there to buy some Hello Kitty candy for Camille!

  5. Those photos have me drooling... I'm adding this to my NYC 'to do' list. Thanks!

  6. Those veggies looked so fresh and inviting but that fish tank! Yuck. Who can pass up good cannoli?? What a great event; I'll have to plan to attend one of these years.

  7. I'm with your husband--I like my tilapia to come in a nice frozen fillet, lol. Those eggplants looked marvelous though--what I could make with them!

  8. The smells in Chinatown (probably from fish tanks like those!)generally turn me off from going inside the stores but the veggies do look very exotic and vibrant!