Pink Noodles and Super Mayonnaise: Shopping at the Sunrise Mart


In the movie Hook, (yes, that Robin Williams debacle) there is a scene where Peter and the Lost Boys sit around a table with rumbling tummies and empty plates dreaming up the delicious treats they wish they could be eating. Their imaginations are so strong that it isn't long before the plates are piled high with cakes and meats and strangely colored porridges that they wolf down and flick across the table at each other as lost boys are wont to do. I've been thinking about that scene quite a bit lately since I started browsing the magnificent food por(n)tal, Tastespotting, during my lunch hour. I find myself wishing that, like Robin and the lost boys, I could will my average work cafeteria meals into some of the incredible dishes that stream by on that site.

I go there for inspiration, ideas, and pure entertainment. I'm completely dazzled by some of the images I see pop up and am quite proud to have had a couple of my own (mediocre) photos included in the line-up. While browsing the site a few days ago, my eyes were immediately drawn to a gorgeous bouquet of pink noodles. I followed the link to Cake Wardrobe's blog where I read her post about finding these ume plum udon noodles among the racks at a cool Japanese grocery store located around the corner from St. Mark's Place. Her descriptions were so exciting that I instantly decided to pay the market a visit.

I went on Sunday. After brunch with a friend in Chelsea, I made my way east towards the village. I had very vague directions, (only the name of the store and that it was "near St. Mark's Place.") and so it took a bit of wandering before I finally stumbled around a corner and found myself at the entrance to the Sunrise Mart.

The store is located at 4 Stuyvesant Street, right above the St. Mark's Bookshop. You have to take an elevator to the second floor and the moment the doors open, it's as if you've left New York. The store bustles with people: older Japanese men and women shopping slowly, NYU hipsters loading up on candy and fresh sushi, and a disproportionately high number of mom's pushing baby strollers (seriously, it's like a Japanese Park Slope in there). Even though I told myself that I was only there to buy some of those pink ume noodles, I somehow found myself reaching for a basket and checking to make sure they accept credit cards (they do). The basket filled up quickly, as I indiscriminately tossed in anything that struck my fancy. As everything is labeled in Japanese, it's almost impossible to know what you're buying without reading the mandatory English nutritional labels stuck over the back of everything (thank you FDA), but even then it's kind of a guessing game.

I love puzzles, so it was just the thing to get the ideas flowing. "I'll make green tea ice cream!" I thought as I threw in a pricey bag of ground Matcha powder. I followed the Matcha with a pound of ginger root, a bag of fiery-looking dried chiles, some rice flour and red bean paste to make daifuku (mochi cakes filled with red bean paste--an idea inspired by the cute little PacMan-like mochi on Peko's Kyoto Foodie blog). Never having actually tasted daifuku before, I made sure to pick out a plump little premade one from the fridge to serve as a guide. I also grabbed a little package of quail eggs (a dozen for two dollars--Whole Foods sells them at 1 dollar each), a package of pink noodles, and a little box of gorgeous cherry blossom tea that "blooms" when you pour hot water over it. From the snack aisle I picked out a box of chocolate candy sticks and a plastic container full of teriyaki flavored nori snacks. The item that I am most excited about, however, was found in the refrigerated section in the back: a squooshy squeeze bottle of "Super Mayonnaise." Super! Mayo! And it comes with a star tip! I'm already giddy about the possibilities...


The Details:

Sunrise Mart

Japanese Specialty Foods

4 Stuyvesant Street, Second floor
New York City, NY 10003

Hours:
11a-10p

11 comments:

  1. Sounds like the equivalent of Mitsuwa on River Road in Edgewater, NJ.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We definitely have really similar tastes when it comes to grocery shopping! I picked up the same things when I was there last - the same box of Sakura tea, mayo, and snacks! I didn't like the Sakura tea though it's really pretty and angelic looking. Jap Mayo - you should julienne some seedless cucumbers, seperate imitation crabmeat and add some tobiko.. The mayo will be your dressing and will most likely be slightly watered down by the juices of the cucumbers so it becomes "light" I love this for lunch or a snack when I'm thirsty.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I keep forgetting to ask - Are those Laduree macarons on your page header?!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Were it not for little japanese marts I never would have found Kasugai gummy candies. So good...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Cakewardrobe: That is so funny! I agree with you about the Sakura tea--it tastes too perfume-y for my liking, but it is beautiful. I would like to figure out a way to use it--maybe in a gelly mold of some kind.

    I will definitely try that cucumber, tobiko, and crabmeat salad idea. That's exactly the kind of snack that I enjoy.

    And Yes! They are Laduree macarons. They're so beautiful...

    ReplyDelete
  6. I live for trips to the Korean markets, and I've dabbled in cooking a few dishes. I haven't really gotten into the Japanese food game yet, it all looks so complicated and detailed. I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to that level of attention.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I wish I were in NYC shopping right now. Although Chicago has some great finds due to its diverse population. I can't wait to see your green tree ice cream. Those Plum udon sound yummy. Now I'm on the lookout!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey there!

    Wow! Looks like great stuff!

    How was the Sakura-hana Ocha? I bet it was REALLY salty! Actually, you are supposed to just put one salted sakura blossom in one cup.

    Peko

    PS, I added you to our Link Love page on KyotoFoodie.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I live near an area called Little Tokyo which has a bunch of these Japanese groceries...and I also love getting lost in them, grabbing random things that call to me even if I can't figure out what they are! :)

    Japanese mayo is fantastic! I love it and have a similar squeezy, star-tipped bottle in my fridge :)

    I haven't come across the pink noodles though...I will have to search harder!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for the link, Peko! I actually only used one blossom in the tea when I drank it (the instructions for that one were in English), but since I didn't like the flavor I decided to drop a couple extra in for the picture since it is so beautiful. The flavor really wasn't salty; it was more bitter and perfumey, but it did have a hint of sweetness to it. I think it might be an acquired taste. I'll probably try it a couple more times before I make a final decision on it...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ooo, I like the Sakura-hana Ocha! My friend Tadashi's mother gave me some with my breakfast recently. I would have sworn there was Umeboshi in it, it had a tangy, bitter, salty taste. I liked it so much, she gave me the entire package. I have been meaning to write about it.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Leave a comment or ask a question. Don't be shy!

LinkWithin