Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | In a fever for Filipino food
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In a fever for Filipino food

Photo_090906_012.jpgOne great thing about living in the New York area is the simple fact of its diverse population. I’ve been shopping regularly at various Asian markets in the area — a Japanese grocery store in Manhattan; the huge Japanese supermarket, Mitsuwa, in northern Jersey; the Korean Han Ah Reum (better known as H-Mart) — and buying everything from eggs and orange juice to Asian staples like rice, packaged ramen and a variety of unique Asian snacks and junk food.

Here in Jersey City’s Journal Square area, there’s a concentration of Indians and Pakistanis and a two-block stretch of nothing but Indian groceries and restaurants along Newark Avenue. Today, I explored the neighborhood around Journal Square and discovered to my delight that on another stretch of Newark Avenue, there are a number of Filipino businesses.

I’d eaten lunch with co-workers at one Filipino restaurant but didn’t realize that just around the corner there were several more, plus a handful of Filipino supermarkets.

In Denver, there’s a large Filpino community, but only one Filipino restaurant that I know of, and one very busy Filipino caterer. I can’t even tell you if there’s a Filipino supermarket, although there are several large Asisn markets and a thriving Japanese grocery store. When we want have a hankering for the cuisine of the Philippines, our best option was always to attend events at the Filipino-American Community of Colorado.

I entered one today and stocked up for dinner, with plenty for tomorrow (unless I really pig out and have a midnight snack). In the back of the market was a deli counter where I could order hot foods. I got a margarine-tub sized plastic container of pancit, the traditional Filipino noodle dish. The pancit here is mixed with meat and lots of seafood and vegetables. I also got a tub of marinated beef and onion (deee-licious!) and some lumpia, a tightly-wound Filipino eggroll. I also bought a Filipino version of a tasobao (a phonetic spelling, probably incorrect, of Chinese pork buns, a favorite).

On my way out I grabbed some junk food (I love trying Asian snacks, the more unique the better, and have written before about Japanese snacks), including a sticky stick of cassava mixed with sugar and wrapped in layers of banana leaves, and a bag of “Boy Bawang,” toasted corn like Corn Nuts flavored with a strong dose of garlic.

I’m in heaven. Ethnic food heaven, that is.