Fubonn is the good one within convenient driving distance from me, and on Sunday I got a whole bunch of goofy things. I went partly because I was out of rice and vinegar, and soysauce, and partly in a spirit of adventure, and I acquired some stuff I don't usually get.
The little round cake at the left is palm sugar. I have never used it, but hopefully I will now. It tastes less sweet than brown or white sugar, is a little malty, and almost fruity. I could eat it like candy, it's quite tasty.
found a recipe online to make them. I haven't yet tried it, but I keep thinking about it.
Haw flakes. I got them because the first time I had them, I thought they were totally nasty, and I wanted to share how gross they were. But I find that they aren't nearly as repellant as I recall. They are slightly sweet, slightly fruity, in a tart, apple-ish way, and because they seem to be composed mainly of sugar, they are almost crunchy and granular at the first bite. Plus, they come in that super oriental paper wrapper.
Fish snacks. I actually like the ones that are made of raw dried fish and glazed with a sweet soy-based marinade. These may be pre-cooked, and they have a chili powder seasoning on them. Most charitably described as pungent. Fairminded persons would say they are totally foul. I like them on soup.
Sesame paste. I hope I got the right kind. Sesame paste can be made of either raw or cooked sesame seeds. I wanted raw, but I haven't tasted it yet. It's pretty much just tahini, but the texture is a little finer. It goes in salad dressing, meat dishes and on noodles. And some baked things too, probably.
Dried shiitakes. Gotta have 'em for making soup. And chinese tamales.
Rice vinegar. Again for the salad dressing. It's milder and less pungent than cider vinegar, which is an acceptable substitute. But it really is better for seasoning sushi rice.
I got some chopsticks. These are the chinese kind. I don't like japanese style ones, they're too pointy.
Buckwheat soba. They have a grassy taste, and the texture is more assertive than plain wheat noodles. I got some fresh ones out of the refrigerator case one time, and I just didn't eat them up fast enough. The dried ones are just fine. They make a great cold salad for hot weather with green onions, ham slivers and a vinaigrette with a little hot pepper.
A couple things didn't make it into the picture: a bag of wide rice noodles, (yummy) the package of pandanus flavored candies, (ick) and the mango drink which had little gelatinous chunks of baby coconut floating in it (woah). And a bag of basil seeds. I got an indian cookbook for 4 bucks, and it's got a recipe for a basil seed dessert drink. It looks like little tiny frog spawn once it's hydrated, how cool is that?