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Asian food, Dutch kitchen, American hands

Before we move to the Netherlands and some time after undergrad, I discovered a deep love for food of an Asian tradition. What started in college as occasional sushi nights became monthly outings for us when we moved to Boston. Living in Allston, we were exposed to a wide variety of cuisines and quickly became fans of Thai and the occasional Chinese fare. I even began to make some of the foods at home and still remember with amusement when I was accused of “bringing the wrong food” to a staff potluck where we were supposed to bring native and ethnic dishes. I made rice balls. I suppose I was expected to bring hamburgers.
When we moved in to our Maastricht flat, one of the first things we found was a nearby Thai takeout restaurant with pretty decent Pad Thai. The just a couple of months ago we found a sushi joint that serves all-you-can-eat sushi. But it wasn’t until the Asian supermarket opened up this month that I was able to seriously entertain thoughts of cooking Asian dishes again.

asian grocery store banner

Amazing Oriental

The new Asian supermarket, Amazing Oriental, is similar to the one we had near us in Boston (Super 88), but without the fish market that always made the store smell a little funky. They do have all my favorite noodles, mochi, and all sorts of strange and interesting snack foods which I hope to continue working my way through. There were also a variety of Indonesian sauces which will be sure to spice up our weekly meals.
Dan and I celebrated the opening of the store by purchasing two different varieties of Mochi and red bean paste-filled glutinous rice balls. Mochi is a sweet made from rice flour made into a paste and usually fill with something. It can be terribly sticky and messy, but it is a very fun food to eat. We tried a blueberry jam filled-mochi which were so tasty they didn’t last us a walk back home. We also got to some ice cream mochi which was one of our favorite snacks in Boston. The variety we bought here has a much thicker mochi shell around the ice cream then the brands we were accustomed to in the US. But I guess that means we will just have to keep hunting for the right one.
Fixings for glutinous rice balls & tea

Fixings for glutinous rice balls & tea

I first had glutinous rice balls made from scratch by a Chinese history teacher in undergrad and at that time had really enjoyed them. So when we found a frozen variety, I decided to introduce Dan to this small, sort of slimy snack. They were very easy to make. Just boil the water, toss in the frozen balls, and simmer until they all float to the top. The results is a soft ball filled with (in this case) red bean paste which is a not too sweet flavor. Dan found them a little bland and added a bit of sugar.
The one thing I didn’t find at the Asian grocery store that I was disappointed about is miso, although that may be because I’m not looking for the right words in Dutch. Dan and I used to eat miso soup at home at least once a month. I would make what I called “super” miso soup with extra vegetables, silken tofu, and the mild yellow miso paste. I did find what I think is the red type, but it’s not our preference so I will have to keep looking. Miso soup is just so comforting on a cold, dark winter night.
This blog article is dedicated to NaNoWriMo 2009. Please sponsor me and my goal of write 50,000 words by making a donation to the Office of Letters & Light.

4 Responses to “Asian food, Dutch kitchen, American hands”

  1. Hi there…have you found any natural food stores(reformhuis) in Maastricht? I’ve been to one in Geleen that I believe had white miso!

  2. locusta says:

    I haven’t looked, but I’m sure there are some natural food stores in Maastricht. There are a couple more Asian grocery stores (small ones) I’ve found that I need to try too. Thank you for the tip!

  3. Candy says:

    By the markt there is a small oriental store called Toko Het Oosten which sells miso which I believe might be what you’re looking for!

  4. Amanda says:

    Thanks for the suggestion. I think I’ve found this one and it is where I pick up miso. :)