If you are looking for fresh, authentic Asian ingredients, look no further than Union Square in Somerville. There you will find Reliable Market, a veritable wonderland of all things Asian. This may be one of the best places in the Boston area to hunt down hard to find ingredients.
The produce selection is filled with everything from various varieties of Asian melons to ginger and bok choy. Don’t be deceived at first glance; this seemingly small market is deceptively large. Broken up into different rooms, you have to go up and down each aisle to truly appreciate the selection.
A wall of sauces showcases everything from your basic soy to Thai peanut or gyoza dipping sauce. For the ingredients that have no English on their labels, check the back or bottom of the package. Here you will most likely find the nutritional information along with an English description of the item.
Of course, noodles and instant soups are also in abundance here. The real treasures are in the room filled with frozen and fresh ingredients. The freezers are packed with pre-made dumplings and buns, as well as bulk seafood at an excellent price. You will even find a freezer full of desserts, such as red bean ice cream or green tea mochi.
If you are thinking of making sushi at home, this is the place to visit. You can pick up a rolling mat, seaweed paper, sushi rice (at a great price in bulk) as well as all the fixings. Fresh fish is even sold here, and you will be shocked at both the quality and the price.
To extend the restaurant-at-home experience, consider buying seaweed salad from their refrigerated section. You will find it is the same in flavor and quality as what restaurants in the area serve. The ingredients for restaurant quality miso soup are also available, and a recipe couldn’t be easier.
Miso Soup (makes 1 serving)
1 level tablespoon white miso paste
1 cup water
½ teaspoon dashi
Wakame seaweed (dried)
Put the water in a saucepan on med/high heat. Add the dashi and cook until almost boiling. Then whisk in the miso paste. Add cubed firm tofu and dried wakame. Cook for 3 minutes and then remove from heat. Pour into a bowl and garnish with sliced green onions.
Consider making the trip to Reliable Market sometime soon, and create your favorite restaurant dishes at home!
(Reliable Market is located at 45 Union Square in Somerville. Call 617-623-9620 for hours.)