Summer in the city = loads of blue skies + sun and plenty of new {memorable} experiences. This week we stamp flying kites and soaking up the multicultural melting pot we call America onto our passports for adventure.

Yesterday, the little farmer and I stumbled upon 49¢ kites at the store around the corner. We bought two and made our way to the nearby park to quickly assemble the colourful flying machines and give em’ a go. Straight away, the warm breeze scooped up our kites and they soared high into the sky. I have to admit, it was awesome. I can’t remember the last time I flew a kite, it might have been when I was Geoffrey’s age. People cheered us on as we ran up and down the open field while screaming with laughter and joy. It was pure recession-proof, innocent, buzzworthy fun.

After working up quite an appetite on our kite-flying escapade, we decided to make our way to the Hmong Village Kitchen in St. Paul. I had read about this special Southeast-Asian market in a local magazine and was very keen on having a look and introducing our little farmer to another culture. I was not disappointed. Colourful. Friendly. Spicy. Busy. Deep Fried. Foreign. Fragrant. Delicious. A feast for all senses. We gobbled up gorgeous red-glazed spicy pork belly with sticky rice for lunch along with a tangy Laotian salad on the side.

We spied fried chicken feet, quail, spatchcocks, Hmong sausages, bean sprout salads, sliced mango with powdery chili pepper sprinkles, banh mi, tri-coloured tapioca smoothies, coconut filled bread, malaysian meatballs, whole fried white bass, papaya salad, boba teas, fried bananas, loads of rice based pastries and dishes.  Meanwhile, the fruit and vegetable stands were filled with fresh lychee, guava, mango, rambutans, lemongrass, Thai bananas, tamarind and many, many more exotic offerings that I could not identify nor could the vendors translate to English.

But,  possibly the best part was discovering our love for Longan fruit. Yum!

*We will be in the USA until the end of August and sharing blog posts about our holiday abroad. Regular Irish Foodie posts will resume upon our return to the craggy isle. xx

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

Photos by Imen McDonnell.

Hmong Village Market & Kitchen,

1001 Johnson Pkwy

St. Paul, MN 55106

651.771.7886
HOURS:
11am-7pm (may vary)
BAR: None
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Good luck
ENTREE COST: $5-7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ireland: In America

04 Jun 2010

Beans-Irish Style

Well, here I am….I have arrived at my sweet home away from home. And I’m loving it. It’s day three so I am fully adjusted once again to driving on the right side of the road and getting into the opposite car door {okay, so that’s not entirely true}. It’s interesting because each time I return home I am far more aware of how much I am changing and just how much I appreciate the little things that I think Americans do best: incomparable customer service, eternal optimistic enthusiasm and, in a word, just plain“convenience”.

Back home in Ireland, I have *painstakingly* learned to do things on my own a bit more. It’s called “getting on with it” I’m told.  Let’s be clear, I do understand that this “getting on with it” business for me has more to do with living on a farm in the middle of the Irish countryside than it has to do with living in Ireland as a whole.  Still, some things like having your groceries lovingly bagged and delivered to your car for you at the supermarket or having an amazing gourmet pizza transported to your home via rocketship on any given night are things that can really put a smile on your face {and the children’s too}. It would appear that you can have anything you want at virtually any time of night and day here. I admit that found it a bit of a challenge not being able to have this citified life of convenience upon moving to Ireland, but now I realize that having to do more stuff on my own has instilled in me a certain amount of pride that I hadn’t really embraced before. Another plus? It makes things remarkably rosy when we are back for visits.

One of my favourite things to do when I first arrive back home is…drum roll please: Glorious food shopping! Whole Foods, the local co-ops, Trader Joe’s and Lunds/Byerly’s are my happy haunts here. I could giddily browse for hours and hours just examining all the new items and trying all the delicious samples. I am especially loving the locavore movement and being able to find so many fresh local ingredients everywhere. There is an importance placed upon this like never before and it is refreshing especially to “us farmers”.  Still, out of curiosity, I decided to take a look and see which, if any, authentic Irish exports I could find in stock.

I found these…

And these…

And then I was reminded that, at the end of the day, a nice cuppa can always put a smile on our faces too…..

Here or there.

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

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