Saturday, April 10, 2010

Adventures in Dallas - Super H Mart and Al Markaz in Carollton

I love love love to explore. In Chicago I'd strap on my roller blades and go up and down new city blocks, finding interesting places and seeing new things. Or sometimes we'd hope on the el train and get off at a random stop and see what was nearby. When I discovered and the LTH forum, it was all over. I was always begging Isaac to come discover a new neighborhood/restaurant/ethnic store with me.

Dallas is a little less explorable, but now that I have a car I get around often enough, and I'm still hitting up new places and trying new foods. My sister came down for Easter weekend, which gave me the perfect excuse to drag Joy and Isaac out to Carollton to check out a spot I've been wanting to visit for a while. First, because my sister spent the last two years in South Asia, we visited a Pakistani restaurant called Al Markaz. The owners and servers were completely impressed that she had seen their hometowns and was communicating in Urdu, and we thoroughly enjoyed our chai (milky tea), lassi (yogurt drink - comes sweet or salty depending on how you like it), sikh kebap (sausage kebab), chicken boti (marinated chicken), daal (pureed and spiced lentils - so good), and amazing fresh naan. Oh man, naan, when done well, is truly one of God's great blessings on mankind.

Then we hopped right across the highway to Super H Mart, which I've heard about for ages but never been to.

It's like a Super Target for East Asian food. It's huge! There's a series of little stores around the edge selling random things like Asian cosmetics or herbs, etc.

There's a coffee shop, and a food court from which you can basically pick your country (sushi? kimchi? Chinese stir-fry?.. etc), or pick up a bubble tea. The produce area is large and filled with the usual and all sorts of unusual fruits and veges and spices. There's a whole section for kimchi, which we avoided because both Joy and I think it's sick.

There's tons and tons of fish at great prices. Some are very unfamiliar looking, like this dude:

This, in the meat section, looks familiar to me because as a kid I used to tell everyone my favorite meat was frog's legs. Sometimes when you order frog's legs you get these measly little legs that actually look like frog's legs, which is a little disturbing. Other times you get this kind, which look more like small chicken legs, but taste better. YUM.

Huge aisles of frozen dumplings, noodles, aisles filled with various rice and beans, lots of the normal American food, lots of dishes and cooking ware.... this place has it all.

Joy and I were overjoyed to find the EXACT cans of multi-colored chocolate vermicelli (read: chocolate sprinkles) that we used to have on peanut butter sandwiches as a kid. It's so surreal when something that used to be familiar but you haven't seen in years suddenly appears in front of you.

I love it. Love exploring. Love Asia. Love finding Asia in Dallas. AND I love hanging out with my sister and husband.


cclarebear said...

multicolouredchocolaevermicelli!!!!!!!!!!! good times. i freak out sometimes when i see this in sydney and vic's just like... um...........?!

Kacie said...

hah, clare, that's so funny. I told Joy I remember you asking me every day what I had for lunch (if I had egg salad you'd always trade for it) and how I remember answering "peanut butter and chocolate vermicelli sandwich" like the long name made me superior. ;)

Bethany said...

Wow, what a fun day :) I'm glad you girls had a good time- those chocolate sprinkles look yummy!

Togenberg said...

That is such a cool store! There are a million Asian stores here from Persian over to Indonesian and Filipino and up to Korean. But they are all tight neighborhood jobs, small, clunky, hard to find. The place you went to is huge, well lit and wild. It must be insanely successful.

Togenberg said...

Frog legs are REALLY good.

Erica Feunekes said...

I usually have to go to a Dutch store to find chocolate sprinkles. My husband has them on his bread with peanut butter everyday!