When Alex Easo opened his new National Imports store in Carrollton, Texas, I thought I would try out the fresh produce he sold in his inviting market display. The first items I bought from him were red onions, ginger and garlic.
I was amazed at the petite size of the red onions. Grocery store red onions are so huge that just a fraction of one is required for most recipes. The rest has to be stored in my fridge (stinking up the vegetable drawer) for future use. Often, it spoils and is just wasted. Indian store red onions are just the right size for Indian recipes without any waste. The best part about the ones from the Indian grocery is their mild flavor. I can use them raw on a salad and won’t be overwhelmed with onion breath. I asked the owner of my local Indian store about this and he reported that they are different varieties.
Fresh ginger is sold in pieces in both stores. I noticed that the pieces in the Indian groceries are larger but that is due to the amount that is used in recipes at home. The flavor, texture and color of the ginger carried in both stores are different. I learned that the ginger at chain groceries is from Mexico while the ginger in Indian groceries is from China. The skin is a little darker and the texture is stringier on the Mexican ginger than that from China. When mincing the Chinese ginger, I didn’t notice as many long fibers which make it more desirable for cooking.
In addition I purchased a package of 5 heads of garlic. The heads as well as the cloves are smaller. I noticed right away that the cloves inside are more consistent in size. The flavor of the garlic from the Indian grocery is milder so it doesn’t leave the same amount of garlic odor on your hands.
Which store sells fresh produce at the lowest price? Wal-Mart? Central Market? Or my local Indian grocery? Come back next week to read my report.
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