Thursday, June 9, 2011

Food Diversity Hits Ellicott City with Korean selections

I have posted on the 2010 Census showing a growing Asian population in Howard County and nowhere is this better seen than along the Route 40 corridor of Ellicott City.  Koreans have moved to this area attracted by the schools in this area of the County.  I have been following the opening of many Korean merchants along Route 40 in the blogs posted on HowChow.  This week I decided to take a drive along Route 40 to see this change first hand.  Route 40 of yesteryear was Buell's, the Enchanted Forest and the Forest Diner.  Today a lot of that has changed and gives us a wide choice of Korean foods.
My first stop was at the Bon Appetit Bakery and sampled the different donuts and pastries.  To say these donuts were different is an understatement.  Many of the donuts use a sweet bean filling which seems strange at first but the more you sample the better it tastes.  I bought 5 or 6 just to try a full range.  I also tried the bubble tea and chose the mango flavor.  Apparently bubble tea is Chinese and not Korean but most non Asians expect to have this offered.  It was like a good fruit smoothie with large purple tapioca pearls in it.  I was fun to watch the pearls come up the straw! And delicious.
Next I moved on to the Lotto Plaza which I hadn't been to in a few years.  If you want to find a place with good prices on fruits and vegetables this is the place.  Plus you will see fruits and vegetables that will make you stop and wonder what they are.  I want to give you just a little taste of what you will find.
Jackfruit pictured above is as big as a watermelon and very common in Asian countries.  The fruit is sticky and sweet but has a smell that some find unpleasant.  I have had it canned but have never seen the whole fruit except in an orchard in southern Florida.  I didn't buy one because I wasn't sure we could eat enough of it.

Lychee fruit pictured above has to be tried if you want to taste a great fruit that is unlike anything you have ever tried.  Like the Jackfruit it is a tropical fruit and also something I had only had in a can.  The problem with the canned product is that it comes in syrup and that takes away from the subtle flavor of the fruit.  If you want a treat this weekend go to the Lotte and buy some Lychee fruit.  You just have to cut off the outer coating and eat the white fruit and avoid the pit in the middle.
I had already purchased my supply of mangoes and mango juice when I saw something above that caught my eye.  Aloe drink.  For most of us we think of aloe as a cream to put on a sunburn.  You can drink the stuff? I had to buy some to try it.  The funny thing is the drink has the smell of the cream and it does seem to be the flavor of the cream if you tasted the cream (not that I have).  It is a pleasant drink that I enjoyed just for the unique flavor.

Finally if you are in the shopping center with the Lotte store stop at the Shin Chon Garden restaurant for some good Korean food.

Hope you saw Google's strumable guitar doodle yesterday.  If not click here and move your cursor over the strings

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