February 14, 2013

Cultural NOMs - Embracing My Heritage and Taste Buds.

(Chinese New Year treats)

(fresh unpeeled lychee hanging)

(Rice on rice on rice on stacks on stacks on stacks)

(A whole roasted pig ready for Chinese New Year feasts)

(Pork bahn mi and sesame lotus cookies)

A weekly hobby and delicious habit of mine is running market errands with my mom to the local Asian market. Asian markets are a visual and sensory heaven for foodies and those looking to try out "new" and "different" flavors and smells. I am half Cambodian and Asian markets are where I have been every Monday with my mom since I was little learning about my heritage's food and keeping an open mind with non-traditionals flavors as I stray from a usual flavor pallet of American cooking and fast food

Asian markets are always filled with fresh exotic produce such as fresh lychee (pictured hanging with their skin in bunches) , dragon fruit, Thai mint (my favorite to ease a migraine) as well as fresh fish, meat, poultry and spices. Some people may be a little intimidated at an Asian market - signs in different languages, the smell of fish and seemingly odd cuts of beef tongue, tripe (stomach lining), and the over whelming variety of cuisine, but that aside you will find it to be very enjoyable and also colorful! Asian food, particularly Southeast Asian food where my mother is from is also very healthy and fresh. Sweets such as the sesame lotus cookie pictured above have just the right amount of sweetness and crunch. 

Last week I snapped a few pictures of my market trip which was filled with towers of burlap sacs of Thai Jasmine rice which smells so fragrant, lychee hanging from registers, Chinese New Year preparation sweets and goodies and my favorite snack Bahn Mi, a Vietnamese hoagie that is filled with fresh cilantro, shredded carrot, radish, jalapenos, and your choice of bbq pork, or any other meat. 

I love food and trying different cultural food from around the world. I encourage anyone to embrace their roots and discover their cuisine as well as others.

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