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Knights of the Vine RUSSIA


Grab the taste of SE Asia before you go!
By Marina Sinitsyna

The Asian food selection in
a Paterson supermarket .
If you neeed more I'll go to the market tomorrow!

Just like life in any other big city, enjoying your stay in Moscow requires a measure of savoir vivre: knowing where to make the right turn in order to avoid those horrific traffic jams; where to find the best tiramisu in town; and where to look for lemon grass for your favorite tom yum soup.

Its true what they say about Moscow: everything is available for the right price. Or the right place.

On the recommendation of the ambassador of The Philippines in Moscow, Ernesto Llamas we headed to the bustling little Vietnamese Market near Tulskaya metro. You can find Thai spices together with quite a number of other Asian herbs and products at any time there. Located at 9 Varshavskoye Shosse, its only minutes from Metro Tulskaya. By car youll have to enter the market area from the Danilovskaya Embankment through an almost non-descript driveway. The market itself is concealed behind a metal door near the staircase at the far right end of the building if you drive in.

Upon entering, I was for a second dazzled with the amount of jars and packs of all sizes and colors arranged on the shelves. Coconut cream, pickled lotus rootlets, pickled salted eggplant all this could be found there at a price of 50r per jar. On the upper shelves I noticed different kinds of noodles rice vermicelli noodles for Malaysian char kway teow, Vietnamese pho noodles, and Indonesian egg mee noodles, with the first two priced at 30r and the third at 50r per pack. Lower shelves were crammed with an abundance of condiments: several variations of soy sauce ranging from 25 to 35r, hoisin bean sauce and burgundy-colored fish sauce known as nuoc mam in Vietnam or patis in the Philippines , which is slightly more expensive but not exceeding 60r.

Contenting myself with coco caramel for 40r (That will color up your meat, advised the vendor) and pickled chili for 60r, I moved on to the next stall and found myself in the fascinating world of spices and herbs. Cinnamon and clove cost me only 40r per 100g while the fresh and tender-skinned ginger was priced at 130r per kg. And for only 100r here you can buy a whole kg of fragrant ground red chili powder. Piled up in the corner of every stall, underneath boxes of instant noodles, I was pleased to see packages of jasmine rice that cost only 350r for 10kg.

Green bananas, pickled green mustard, green bamboo, tofu, mushrooms, lentils, rice paper, shrimp chips, even rice bowls and chopsticks you name it, all of it is sold at one place. Unfortunately, they didnt have any of the curry paste not red, green or yellow. Normally we have it but we are out at the moment, confessed the vendor, adding that it will set me back by 40r if I return in a couple of days. Fortunately, they did have lemon grass and for as little as 350r per kg. Remember though, if you are planning to throw a big party, you should take care to order big quantities of a kg or so in advance. This is an essential ingredient for stuffing roast suckling pig in Filipino cuisine, and its widespread use in practically all South-East Asian dishes.

You can also find coconut milk packs, Thai Curry Kits, Thai Noodles and a variety of cook-in-the-wok sauces at the Paterson chain of suburban supermarkets while Blue Elephant Royal Thai Cuisine Restaurant in central Moscow sells their own brand of noodles and sauces imported from Bangkok.

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