Nick's Picks: Asia Food Market

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Photo by Nicholas Abreu

Whether you know it or not, you have probably eaten something from Asia Food Market. Plenty of local restaurants, as well as home cooks from all over Monroe County, turn to this superstore in Henrietta for its truly dizzying selection of imported Asian spices, sauces, produce, meat, and fish. Customers can spend hours browsing the market’s dozens of soy sauces and chili pastes, sifting through packages of chicken hearts and pork kidneys, examining lychee and dragon fruit, or gazing at tanks filled with live crabs, turtles, eels, and shrimp. That’s all before exploring instant noodle options, frozen dumplings and steamed buns, soft drinks, candy, silverware, utensils, and countless other items from the likes of China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, and Indonesia.

Despite its inventory, I did not come to Asia Food Market to shop. I came to eat. And I did, and well. Just past the market’s entrance doors, next to shopping carts and newspapers, is a small open kitchen, an ordering counter, and three no-frills communal tables accompanied by plastic chairs. In this humble space, diners can receive a fresh, delicious meal worth much more than its minimal price tag.

The kitchen’s main attractions of roast pork, duck, chicken, and pig’s head hang on display in a heated glass case. While some take these creations home whole or by the pound, customers dining in get their chicken, duck, or pork served over a bed of rice or, as I did, on top of a perfectly constructed bowl of ramen. With crunchy bok choy, springy noodles, a muted, subtly flavorful broth that plays a supporting role to, in my case, exceptionally tender duck, and fresh cilantro that cuts through the salt and fat of it all, Asia Food Market’s ramen, at $8.50, is one of the best values in Rochester.  

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Categories: Nick’s Picks