Now that I don't live in Chinatown anymore, I'm not as in tune with the detailed goings-on at the Chinatown markets. But I do still make it up there once every couple of weeks to buy my favorite products: Vitasoy silken tofu, coconut cream, and lotus root starch.
Lotus root starch is little known to non-Chinese people, but it is a Chinese supermarket staple in Boston, even at smaller markets like Sun Sun. However, I seem to remember it being hard to find in markets in LA. It is just the dried starch made from lotus roots, and when mixed with some water or milk and heated to boiling either in the stove or in the microwave, it makes a deliciously sticky porridge which is perfect with a little brown sugar for breakfast in the winter. It's the northern Chinese equivalent of oatmeal or cream of wheat, I suppose. In any case, buy West Lake brand - other brands just aren't as good.
- The Super 88 on Essex street is currently closed for renovation (see my two reviews here and here). Will it ever reopen?
- Perhaps as a result of the Super 88 closure, the C Mart on Washington Street where I usually get groceries has been packed all the time lately, even in the middle of the day when I usually go.
- As a result, I've been going to the C Mart on Lincoln street by the freeway. It's very close to the other Chinatown markets, but the lines are much shorter and the selection is a bit better too. Today, I spotted one of my favorite snacks there - vegetarian mushroom strips! In the past the only place I had seen them was Kam Man way out in Quincy, but now I can get them close to home. If you're interested - they're on the tall rack next to the tofu.