What’s better than coming across a whole new, delicious, and noteworthy food find? With its endless neighborhoods and diverse ethnic enclaves, Philadelphia has surprises around every corner. Chances are pretty good you have some unexplored territory in or near your own neighborhood.
I take great pleasure in food shopping, and even more when I happen upon rare food items at the City’s many markets and restaurants. Professionally, I am an educator working in outreach pertaining to East and Inner Asia. My background includes considerable traveling and living experience in China, Central Asia, Mongolia, Southeast Asia and Turkey. I speak and read Chinese and Thai, and that often comes in handy when exploring prepared foods and speaking with shopkeepers.
The point of this blog is to highlight hidden specialties I find among the 100 or so markets in and around the city that cater to customers of East, Southeast, South, Central and West Asian heritage… I’ll be focusing on the produce, herbs, spices, and prepared food items unique to these regions of Asia, providing some background on each item and maybe even a cooking suggestion or two.
The blog is also meant to be a resource for people to locate hard-to-find items. Many shops are not listed with search engines, and shops go out of business from time to time–and sometimes they are replaced by new shops. I find that most markets have something unique or unusual that they offer, and they are fun to explore.
My hope is that my writing will encourage you to get out and explore the foods available to you at your own local Asian markets, whether that be in Philadelphia or elsewhere… Enjoy!
David Dettmann, Philadelphia