Every so often, I head downtown and visit my favorite Asian market. It's called Vietnam Oriental Food Market, and it is on 3rd St. My first trip here came when we took a field trip in culinary school a few years ago, and I was hooked.
I just visited yesterday to pick up some of my favorite items, and only spent $13! Below are my treasures:
+ Quail Eggs - I love quail eggs, and they are not something easily found in Louisville, but they're always in stock here for only $1.50 per container. I buy a couple packs, hard boil them, and keep them on hand for a salty, high protein snack with a little soy sauce.
+ Straw Mushrooms - These used to be available at regular grocery stores around town, and my family LOVED them I'm stir-fries, but they're not easy to find now. However, this market always has them in stock at a great price.
+ Palm Sugar - You're gonna think I'm crazy, but I actually love to just suck on a piece of this stuff! When super fresh, it's soft and smooth, holding its shape just until you put it in your mouth. It's a great addition to any Asian dish, and if you buy it in pellet form, you won't have to chisel off a piece from a giant slab when you're ready to cook.
+ Rice Stick Noodles - This market has an entire aisle of Asian noodles at fantastic prices. I've noticed that local chain grocery stores have started to carry rice noodles, but the prices are ridiculous if you know how cheap the same products are at this place. I like to stock up so I can make lots of Pad Thai at home without breaking the bank.
+ Coconut Vinegar - This stuff is a cloudy white color, and it's very strong, but a dash or two adds a unique and delicious Southeast Asian twist to your meals.
This market also has great deals on soy sauce, mirin, garlic chili sauce, and all the other Asian ingredients you love. Pay them a visit soon - you'll save money on authentic items, and the lady at the register is so sweet!
Vietnam Oriental Food Market
5019 S. 3rd St.