Who Needs Clothes? Here's The Delicious Asian Food I Pack For My Poor Sister In Boston
By Kristie Hang
I never realized how spoiled I was until the first time I visited my sister in college over a decade ago. It turns out that in some parts of the country, there is not an amazing Asian bakery located on every corner. My older sister left sunny and perfect Los Angeles for Boston for some reason. Oh, right: Harvard. Who wants to go there anyway?
Although Boston is by no means a city in the middle of nowhere, for me—someone whose entire day revolves around food—its lack of Asian cuisine most definitely did not meet my standards. Then again, I’m also the person that chose my college and grad school based on its proximity to the best food.
So three or more times a year, when I fly to visit my sister and nephew, I bring with me suitcases full of food. Here are some of the items I bring to my sister when I visit and where you can get them.
What do you pack in your suitcases? Clothes?
Spekkoek (Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
Spekkoek (Indonesian Layer Cake)
Indonesian Thousand Layer Cake aka Spekkoek is a must have for any occasion. It's available for order from Tip Top Market in San Gabriel for $60. This drool-worthy butter cake is no ordinary cake. The baking process takes more than 7+ hours since each of the 18-20 layers are each baked and grilled one by one. Not only is it so tasty, it can last a while if you freeze it.
Spekkoek cake is available at Tip Top Market at 704 West Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel, (626) 293-8882
Chinese sausage (Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
Chinese Dried Sausages and preserved duck
Chinese sausages and preserved duck are dried and sweetened, then marinated in various spices. They have a very high fat content, which tastes delicious especially when steamed or used in fried rice.
Available at various T S Emporiums or any Asian Supermarket. TS Emporium is located at 1457 Nogales Street in Rowland Heights, (626) 839-0022
Steak (Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
Frozen American Wagyu steak
This one was gifted from a friend.
An actual box I packed for Boston. (Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
I bring some of our local bounty that includes fruits from my backyard and local farmer’s markets: avocados, tangerines, persimmons and wax apples. I frequently visit the Alhambra Farmers Market on Sundays at 111 South First Street in Alhambra and the Pasadena Farmers Market on Saturdays at 2900 North Sierra Madre Boulevard at Paloma Street in Pasadena.
Coconut egg jam (Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
Kaya Malaysian/Singaporean Coconut Egg Jam
Kaya coconut egg jam may be one of the best foods ever invented. Praise the Food Gods that made this happen! It is a silky jam that goes best on toasts paired with a cup of coffee. Fresh Kaya jam was bought at Yazmin Malaysian Restaurant, which continues to be “temporarily closed” at the moment.
Yazmin Malaysian Restaurant is located at 27 East Main Street in Alhambra, (626) 308-2036
Jerky (Photo via Flagrant Jerky's website)
Regular jerky just doesn’t cut it. The Bak Kwa Singaporean jerky at Fragrant Jerky is hand grilled. The meat is sliced into thin pieces and then marinated, dehydrated, smoked and then grilled on a flame.
Fragrant Jerky is located at 8930 Mission Drive in Rosemead, (626) 329-2779
Egg rolls (Photo via Kristie Hang/LAist)
Cantonese Butter Egg Rolls
Cantonese-style buttery egg rolls are the perfect snack for kids and adults alike. My nephew and brother-in-law enjoy munching on the buttery, crispy, cracker-like texture of the egg rolls.
Kee Wah Bakery is located at 729 West Garvey Avenue in Monterey Park
(Photo via Kristie Hang/LAist)
Pineapple Buns and Cookies
I always make a stop the morning of my flight to the Taiwanese Bakery called D’ange for freshly-baked cookies, chocolate and taro pineapple buns.
D’ange Bakery located at 800 West Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel 91776
Pastries and bread (Photo via Kristie Hang/LAist)
Chinese Pastries and Bread
The day before my flight, I like to make a stop to Kelley’s Bakery for an assortment of Chinese pastries, buns, and danishes.
Kelley’s Bakery is located at 2119 South Atlantic Boulevard in Monterey Park, (323) 268-2222
Pork floss (Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
Pork floss is seasoned dried pork product that has a fluffy, cotton candy-like texture. It can be eaten as a snack on its own or added to porridge for extra flavor. You can find pork floss at any Asian market or Champion Provisions.
Champion Provisions is located at 140 West Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel
Goji berries (Photo from Goji's website)
Goji Berries are rich in antioxidants. My family uses them to make juice. You can buy them at any Asian supermarket.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Kristie Hang is an avid world traveler that spends 3 months a year in Asia. She has an affinity for bizarre foods and is also the co-founder of the 626 Foodettes Blog, a hyperlocal food blog highlighting culinary options in the San Gabriel Valley. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
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