Friday Foodstuffs 5.7.10: A Celebration of Asian Cuisine, Supermarket-Style!

Yukimi Daifu anyone?

Way back in our North Jersey living days, we lived for a time near a Japanese supermarket in Edgewater called Yaohan (which has since been taken over by Mitsuwa). The first time we entered Yaohan, our concept of a supermarket was immediately knocked on its head. First off, there was a fish section that completely dwarfed the meat section. Where we were used to seeing ground beef wrapped in plastic backed by styrofoam, here there was beautifully ruby red sushi-grade tuna.

Then, of course, there was the snacks aisle. We may think we have the lead in silly, goofy snacks, but the Japanese has us all beat. And here was a dizzying blast of colors and shapes and flavors that one could not possibly get a hold of in one shopping excursion.

And then you had the other stores inside the supermarket: a salon, a number of restaurants including a sushi bar, a travel agency, a video store, and a food court with faster food service options. And it was here at the snack bar that Lisa and I had our first taste of Yukimi Daifu. And if you’re not familiar with this, it’s simply a ball of ice cream wrapped in a marshmallowy dough called mochi. It was an odd combination, for sure, but so enjoyable and different. It was like eating ice cream from the planet Mars – it didn’t seem to be of the world with which I was familiar.

Why the waxing over Yaohan and strange ice cream treats? These things came to mind when I received notice that the Asian Food Market in Cherry Hill was going to have ‘A Celebration of Asian Cuisine’ on the 15th and 16th of May. Around 20 different vendors inside the store will be serving free samples, which according to the press release will include: soy milk, several kinds of tofu prepared in different ways, meat and vegetable dumplings (steamed and fried), instant noodles, several kinds of curry served with tofu, steamed bread, spring rolls, Korean barbecue, miso soup, Japanese mochi glutinous rice cakes filled with red bean, sesame and other flavors, special Japanese unsweetened green ice tea, sautéed white beech and oyster mushrooms, Japanese crackers, red bean cakes, wontons, several kinds of dim sum, sesame chicken, pork with assorted vegetables, and selected fruit and vegetables plus fresh cookies and authentic Asian buns made in the store’s bakery.

If you’re a novice when it comes to Asian food items, what a great chance to try something new and different. And if you already love this stuff, what a chance to have some fun and do a little shopping as well. Maybe even pick up a bag of snacks with a happy and slightly disturbing cartoon figure on the label. Or, maybe even some Martian ice cream.

Haven’t gotten your fill of Cinco de Mayo? Well, the party’s still going on at Tortilla Press Cantina and their Five Days of Cinco de Mayo which will run until the 9th.

What else is going on? Tonight you have a Taste of Avalon at the Community Center in Avalon from 6:30PM to 9:30PM. The South Jersey Eye Center Inaugural Wine Tasting Experience will also be happening tonight at the Currents Ballroom at Adventure Aquarium in Camden from 7PM to 10PM. And for a beer chaser, it’s Beer Wars – Unibroue vs Victory at the High Street Grill in Mount Holly on Saturday.

Of course, there is the Mother’s Day Wine Trail Weekend – which I already talked about in yesterday’s post. And there are a ton of restaurants serving Mom’s Day brunches and dinners. Check out our Food and Wine Events page for a listing of a number of Mother’s Day meals.

The kids can be found in the cooking class tonight at Kitchen Kapers. That’s because it’s a Kids’ Night Out – Kids’ Italian Feast from 6PM to 8PM. Saturday’s classes come straight from the hearth: a Hearth Cooking for Children demo at Hancock House in Hancocks Bridge from 10AM to 3PM, and a Hearthside Cooking Class tomorrow night at Gibbon House on Ye Greate Street in Greenwich starting at 6PM.

And an FYI: the Viking Cooking School (Viking as in cooking appliances and not as in Nordic warriors) at Harrah’s in Atlantic City will be open for business starting in June. They seem to be running classes almost every day, and I have started to list their classes on our Cooking Classes and Demos page. The 3-hour classes offered at Viking range (heh heh…Viking range…cooking appliance humor) from $79 to $119 per person.

Blogging Out Hunger

Tomorrow is Stamping Out Hunger, so if you can please leave donations for your non-perishable donations for your mail carrier.

Sports Paradise in Willingboro will be starting its annual food drive tomorrow.

And in the news this week…

Two restaurant openings of note: Chef Geoff Johnson and Copper Fish are back – now in West Cape May, and at the location of where Moonfish Grill once operated. Oddly enough, Chef Geoff was executive chef at Moonfish Grill back in 2006. The other new eatery is The Diving Horse, which will open its doors on June 1st in Avalon. The chef of The Diving Horse will be Chef Jonathan Adams, who has built an excellent reputation through his work at Pub and Kitchen in Philadelphia.

A mother and daughter team believe they have a diet to help fight cancer.

Atlantic City Restaurant Week this year served 50% more meals than in 2009.

Enjoy your weekend!

– John

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