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Uwajimaya

IMG_0990My husband and I have spent a great deal of time in Seattle.  This summer is proving to be quite spectacular, as there is no finer place than The Emerald City on a gorgeous warm summer day.  With the Puget Sound, Mt. Rainer, the Olympic Mountains, Pike Place Market, a ton of amazing restaurants as well as all things unique and touristy to Seattle – there is no better place.

My interest and knowledge in everything food has greatly increased with courses in Nutrition and Gastronomy, reading food related books and prepping for my certificate course at UW.  I am always eager to explore new ingredients, and venture into different shops and stores.  My husband’s niece was visiting from DC and told us over dinner of her love for Uwajimaya and of her recent visit to the landmark Asian food mecca.  I thought to myself, I can’t believe I’ve never been.  That problem was remedied within a week.

Last weekend Michael and I ventured (on foot via the Light Rail) to Seattle’s International District and down the rabbit hole into the wonderful land that is Uwajimaya.

I had no idea that this experience was going to include sensory overload.  Rather like a food lovers paradise, with rare and legendary ingredients, as well as a indoor street food court all rolled into one.  I aimlessly roamed up and down the isles and poked around each corner.  Wide-eyed and filled with wonder, I wanted to get one of everything.  I’d say I knew only about 5% of what I was looking at.  I love picking an item off the shelf with no idea what it is or how to use it and throwing it in my cart.  I especially love doing that with fruits and veggies I’ve never seen or have only heard about.  I did so with a Mexican Cactus Pear which is better known as a Prickly Pear (an affectionate nickname of mine from my husband).  I also got an Australian Horned Melon.  I was amazed to see the legendary southeast Asian stinky fruit Durian.  No, I did not get one.

They had fresh quail eggs and all sorts of sashimi grade fish including octopus, tuna, eel, and even fresh uni (sea urchin).  They had several kinds of fresh oysters and fish, some of which are swimming in tanks.  An entire isle was dedicated to noodles, instant Ramen and huge pallets of 25 pound bags of rice.  They also had a meat counter, a small plant and flower area, and a large produce section and bakery with all sorts of sweets, cakes, and pastries.

IMG_0995I can’t fully describe the experience.  For some, it wouldn’t be that different from your regular grocery outing, only with a strong Asian influence.  I, however was like a child on Christmas morning.  I could have easily spent the better part of the day there.  But as I said, we traveled via Light Rail, so even though the commute was a rather easy one, we were limited to what we could carry.  So needless to say, I didn’t get much.  But we did go back the following day, on our way back home to Olympia.  I picked up some fresh seafood for dinner that night.

I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to actually go there.  But that’s one of the nice things about exploring a new and yet familiar city.  Finding hidden gems, local haunts and hole in the wall treasures that make Seattle new time and again.

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