Future of Food:
East meets West fusion is something that in the coming years will transform both cultures into a global society. As governments, currency, business, entertainment, language and cultures fuse together in time one will be indistinguishable from the other. Locally the rise and abundance of Asian Markets and products has already begun. There are a great many Asian Markets, grocery stores and bazaars in this city and I have been to many of them but one stands out as my personal favorite – The Asian Food Market:
Asian Food Market –
1885 Brighton Henrietta Townline Road
(Corner of W. Henrietta Rd.)
Rochester, NY 14623
7 days a week
9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
“You are invited to explore Rochester’s most fascinating and accessible bazaar. Our large selection of fresh fish, produce and spices spans the Asian continent. If you have difficulty finding your delicacy elsewhere, you won’t have trouble here.” -AFM’s Website
To an outsider like myself, Asian Markets are an exotic wonderland of smells, sights and the unfamiliar. It’s an adventure to shop there, like traveling to a faraway land without having to leave your local zip code. I get such pleasure wandering the aisles of the market looking at all the different items in stock, the packaging, the textures and sometimes the downright strangeness of it all. Every time I go in I make it a point to buy at least one item I have never seen or heard of before just so I can learn a little more about the culinary culture of the East and pick up some new knowledge to take with me into our collective food future.
This market and Asian product distribution center has experienced amazing growth and change since it first opened several years ago and by all outward appearances the Asian Food Market seems to be a thriving and ever expanding local business. They recently remodeled the market and added a fresh prepared food section to the front of the building. They have a thoroughly impressive selection of meats, frozen foods, dry goods, produce, cooking equipment, novelties and in particular fresh and live seafood. This is the only place I know of locally you can for example buy live turtles for cooking, among other things. Their prices are also quite low, especially produce, when compared to say Tops or Wegmans. The AFM is also the biggest and cleanest Asian market I have visited in Rochester and in some ways this also makes it the most accessible. While the products might be exotic, the layout and format are not. It’s big, brightly lit and has an easily navigable layout.
I strongly recommend you support this local business and explore all of Rochester’s Asian markets. The everyday wonders there are to experience in this city are right in front of you, all you have to do is know where to look.
Have an adventure.
Part 6 – Future Noodles:
I am a big time Sci-Fi fan as well as a fan of all things Asian in the culinary world. I recently read an article that pointed out that often in Sci-Fi movies and TV people from the future tend to eat a lot of Asian noodles and often speak some Chinese, hinting at the inevitability that the East and West will slowly merge into a global society. More and more I think this is becoming our reality. This dish is about as East meets West as I can imagine. It is fairly simple to make, basically a spicy stewed beef and vegetables over wheat noodles, and very tasty. I think we will be eating more and more dishes like this as time goes on and our cultures merge, populations increase and resources deplete. Dishes like this are cheap, filling and make the most out of small amounts of readily available ingredients. It makes sci-fi sense, so get used to slurping noodle bowls because there is much more of it coming your way in the future.
All of the ingredients for this meal can be found at my favorite local Asian grocery store the Asian Food Market.
This dish requires a few cups of basic Asian beef stock which is a simple matter to make.
You will need:
1 Beef soup bone (available at any meat counter)
2-3 spring onions (tied in a knot)
A few Dried Shitake Mushrooms
Cooking Mirin (rice wine)
Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
Regular Soy Sauce
In a medium pot put in the soup bone, onions, and mushrooms along with a splash of mirin, vinegar, soy sauce and salt then fill the pot with water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a slow simmer and let the stock reduce for about an hour (or two). Turn off the heat, let cool and then strain the liquid into a bowl and discard all the solids. Approximately 2 cups of finished stock are needed for the final dish.
The Main Dish
You will need:
Asian beef stock (previously prepared)
A cheap chuck roast or chuck steak
Yang Chun Noodles (or similar Asian wheat noodle)
Yu Choy (or other Asian Green/Kale/Swiss Chard/Spinach etc)
Cinnamon (stick is best)
Star Anise (whole is best)
Regular Soy Sauce
Asian Chili Garlic Sauce (I like Túóng ót tói)
Dry cooking Sherry
*Note: This dish can be converted to Gluten Free by substituting a GF Rice Noodle or serving it over steamed white rice.
In a large flat bottom pan (such as a sauté pan) on a high heat add in a 50-50 mix of mustard oil and vegetable oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) and brown the chuck beef quickly on both sides. Reduce to medium heat and then add in the stock, two whole star anise, one cinnamon stick, a splash of sherry and dash of ginger and salt. Then add a generous amount (to taste) of the chili garlic sauce and bring the stock to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer and cover tightly, let cook for about an hour.
While the beef is cooking for its first hour prep the carrots by peeling and chopping into chunks (on the bias), cutting the white heads off the spring onions (saving the green part for later) and cutting the base of the stems off the Yu Choy.
After the beef has cooked for an hour carefully flip it over and add in the carrots. Cover lightly and continue to cook another 30 min then add the green onion heads and Yu Choy and cook an additional 15 min.
In large pot boil the Noodles until tender (about 5 min) and drain. Be careful not to over boil the noodles, ideally you want them to be soft and flexible but still have a little chewiness to them so they will absorbed the stock from the beef when combined. Place the noodles in the bottom of a serving bowl(s) and set aside. Finely chop the remaining “green” parts of the spring onions, set aside.
When the noodles are ready and the beef and vegetables are fully cooked, remove the cinnamon stick and star anise (discard) and using two forks pull apart the beef into small chunks while still in the pan. Add in the soy sauce (to taste) then spoon out the beef, vegetables and liquid from the pan over the top of the noodle bowls. Garnish the top with the chopped green spring onions before serving.
Between Now and Then sharpen your blades and chew the fat:
J.Nevadomski (also known as Juda) is an accomplished musician and artist from Rochester. He has recorded with musicians from all over the world for his project “The Fragile Path” (which he heads and produces) and is a veteran artist who’s paintings have been featured in galleries, newspapers and exhibitions throughout the Rochester area. In 2012 he was the “artist guest of honor” at RocCon: Rochester’s Anime, Sci-Fi and comic book convention. He lives in the NOTA area of Rochester, keeps a yearly urban vegetable garden and regularly cooks and hosts dinner parties for friends and colleagues.