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Eat Drink Man Woman

♥ Asian groceries ♥ 
Aug. 4, 2009 10:01 pm 
Updated: Aug. 6, 2009 6:06 am
Over the weekend, I visited my parents, who live in a Toronto suburb. I live in a much smaller city an hour west, so whenever I return 'home' I try to stock up on Chinese/Asian pantry staples. Things like five spice and other speciality items are not readily available where I live (or if they are, they're rather expensive or don't have the same variety as in larger cities). In cities with sizeable Asian communities, Chinese markets are common, but the biggest and most popular store for Asian groceries must be T&T, the largest Asian supermarket chain in Canada.

My sister and I went to my parents' local T&T, which is open until 11 PM every night (yes!), and has virtually everything the Asian food lover might dream of. What a feast for the senses! The dim sum, sushi, and bakery counters tempted us with their freshly made items. As much as I appreciate my local grocery store and the farmers' markets where I live, nothing beats shopping at a fully-fledged Asian grocery store, especially as I hadn't been to one in months. I felt like a kid seeing the circus for the first time!

Imagine...Shelves laden with countless flavours/blends of soy drinks. Multitudes of Asian sweets, less sugary and more delicate (in general) than western desserts. An entire aisle devoted to many types of instant noodles (mainly Chinese, Japanese, Korean). All the dried foodstuffs you'd want, such as mushrooms, scallops, cuttlefish, and beans--not to mention meats in the siu lap section. So many different types of noodles, including egg noodles, rice and bean vermicelli, soba noodles, bean thread noodles, and udon. Freezer cases full of green tea, taro, red bean, mango, coconut, etc., ice creams and popsicles. *melts*

Sadly, we had neither the time nor the money to buy everything we wanted. What I ended up buying at T&T was rice paper, black soy beverage, regular soy beverage, panko bread crumbs, sesame oil, coconut milk, matcha powder, Chinese egg noodles, a modest sushi tray, and a slice of cake. The last two items my sister and I enjoyed that evening. Sis also picked up a package of seasoned (salty and spicy) seaweed for snacking. Yum!
T&T sushi counter - DROOL.
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T&T - more cakes. I covet the green tea slices.
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T&T - veggies wrapped in dried beancurd (foo jook), which is one of my fave things ever.
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T&T dim sum counter
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T&T canned drinks aisle
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T&T instant noodles aisle
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T&T siu lap meats
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T&T - some frozen treats. Yum!
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Aug. 5, 2009 7:27 am
I love T&T! Thanks for posting.. now I want to go there! lol
Aug. 5, 2009 11:37 am
Daaang, now i've gotta scramble out to Uwajimaya for lunch (seattle). btw, I like this quote in your profile: he'd "starve beside a loaf of unsliced bread." Ha! Sounds like you know my dad.
Aug. 5, 2009 3:03 pm
You gave me a craving to go to Uwajimaya. I'm glad there's one near where I live!
Aug. 5, 2009 3:58 pm
Big fan of T&T as well! But for the 5 spice... can't you just buy the individual spices in bulk and make your own?
Aug. 6, 2009 6:06 am
Glad to see other T&T fans. Lorem, we all know someone like that! ;) KBots, hehe, no, I live in the boonies...spices like cinnamon and ginger are common but not the other stuff. The bulk barn here is very small. It's just easier to go to T&T when I am in T.O.! :)
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Home Town
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Member Since
Apr. 2007

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Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Nouvelle, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Kids, Quick & Easy

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About Me
I love to cook and eat new foods, and I aim to cook healthy, delicious meals for my family. When I'm not working as a corporate writer or taking care of my family (1 husband, 2 small children, and a cat), I'm probably reading or daydreaming about food. I'm trying to stick to my flexitarian (i.e., mostly vegetarian) diet while cooking for my meat-loving family. I have (mostly) cooking/food blogs at http://moodysattva.blogspot.com and http://www.cookingmonkey.com.
My favorite things to cook
I like to cook most things. Love spicy stuff--especially Indian food! When it comes to baking, I'm less into the super-sweet things, but have a fondness for nuts, fruits, and spices in my baked treats.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I hope to start some more family cooking traditions with my children, when they are old enough. My son sometimes helps with dinner and (especially) desserts. I'd like to include my husband here, but he's the kind of person who'd starve beside a loaf of unsliced bread. Ha, kidding. Half.
My cooking triumphs
I'd have to say...making flaky pie crust, getting my husband and son to eat (and like) fish, and learning how to make yeast breads without a machine. Getting my hubby to try 'weird' food (e.g., different ethnic foods) was also a triumph. It's not that hard to get my son to try because he's young and has a mostly blank slate as far as his tastes are concerned. ;) Most of all, learning to actually like cooking is the biggest triumph. I used to despise it!
My cooking tragedies
One of the first meals I ever made was risotto. It tasted good but it was way too sticky! Oh, and there was the time I had a cake baking in the oven and no one noticed that the fuse had blown halfway through the cooking time. Last year I tried to make doubles (Trinidadian snack food with chick peas and fried bread) and it was awful. The chickpeas were too oily, the bread not enough so; it wasn't spicy enough, and the bread was weird and misshapen. Another time I was making something sweet (cookies?) and mixed up the cinnamon and the chili pepper. Thank goodness I realised it before I mixed it all in--I scooped it out and the cookies were saved.
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