Archive for April, 2009

More on Agar and a bit on shopping in Boston

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Scene of the crime...

For those of you who have caught the jelly-bug, you should check out Appon’s Thai Food Recipes. Seriously, I want to walk hand-in-hand along the beach at sunset with some of these recipes. Yes, they look that good. Now if only I could find a place to buy some of those ingredients.

Speaking of shopping, I am feeling the pain of all of you who are having a hard time finding decent asian markets. Before I moved out of my mom’s place, I think I got to go to an Asian market a few times a year when my mother had to go to the dentist. And the only reason we knew about the place was because we used to live near the woman who owned the store (or something like that). I would fill myself up on jelly cups, noodles, and a few candies but never really knew what other things I should be looking for. Then when I got older and actually became more interested in learning about Asian cooking, I kinda had to navigate Boston and the surrounding areas on my own. Early on, I learned that a lot of other bento bloggers were on the west coast it seemed that they had a lot more options than I did. As a result, I bought my first bento box on ebay, happily due to some extensive research and contacting other bento-makers, I have a set of places I frequent for Asian cooking supplies ad ingredients.

I hope to create a database with all the places I find at some point, so if anyone has any good ideas on how to do this and want to help out…let me know. There might be some bento goodies in the deal for you.

As for now, here is a run down of some of my favorite places:

Porter Exchange: Porter Square Cambridge:
Not only can you find Kotobukiya Market here (where I get my agar powder), but there are also a bunch of food courts/stalls with everything from sushi, to Japanese curry, and ramen available. I LOVE this place and go here the most often. The only thing is that since it’s in Cambridge, it’s not cheap. You pay for the convenience and even the parking. Still though, it’s a fun place to pick up some stuff, have dinner, and grab some sweet bean pastries for dessert. Also worth mentioning if the Japanese gift shop (its name I can’t remember). They have bentos available there, but they are quite expensive so unless you have no other shot at getting a bento, I would shop around.

Super 88 Markets
The main Asian Supermarket chain in the greater Boston area. They have several locations including Boston, Malden, Quincey, Allston, and Dorchester. Great for big shopping, but can be a bit overwhelming if you are just looking for one thing. I usually take my sister on trips here so we can take our time and really look around. The prices are pretty low and you can even get a few staples (milk and eggs) cheaper than you can at the some of the local supermarkets. I also buy my instant noodles in bulk here.

Kam Man Marketplace
Think day trip! No seriously, I plan my day around trips here. Located in Quincey, this is an Asian mall. I get all excited just thinking about this place. You can get everything here! I usually grab myself a Vietnamese sandwich and then dive in. The place is always crowded, so make sure you have your game face on. The supermarket is huge and the prepared food section is really exciting. They also have a bakery. My favorite stop might be the discount store. They have $2 bento boxes and a good amount of accessories. If you live anywhere nearby, it is worth the trip.

If anyone has any other recommendations of places to go shopping, please post below. I would love to add more places to my list and share them with other people who are trying to get their hands on more specific ingredients.