Having time to kill is a privilege rarely afforded residents of a city as perpetually in motion as New York, so when the opportunity presents itself — you go for it.
Which is how I found myself wandering into virtually every shop on the block of Mulberry Street between Canal and Bayard streets recently. I love all of New York’s Chinatown(s), but Manhattan’s Chinatown holds a special place in my heart. I lived on the periphery of Chinatown when I first moved to NYC almost a decade ago and spent many an evening or weekend afternoon getting delightfully lost in its many lanes and alleys, being transported by the sights, the sounds, the smells, returning home with a few favorite or curious new food stuffs to try — tea, noodles, prepared foods, brightly packaged snacks in unusual flavors.
Mulberry Street, it turns out, boasts an incredible amount of diversity in just one block: Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants, as well as a vegan Chinese restaurant; a couple of Asian grocers, including a Japanese market; a handful of shops including a jewel box of a store filled with goods from Nepal. I had no idea such a place existed in our fine city. It’s a real treasure.
Speaking of treasure, I came home with quite the bounty. Here, my spoils from the day, from left to right: Premium Jasmine Green Tea ($3.50 for 100 ct. tea bags!) Prince of Peace brand; elephant incense holder from Nepal ($5) and decorative bells made out of Nepalese paper ($2); jar of Sambal Oelek ($2.59), the popular chili paste from Huy Fong Foods out of Irwindale, CA; Gia Vi Pho Hoa ($2.39), “Vietnamese special spice for pho” made by Throng Food Intl. in Santa Ana, CA; packet of Yeo’s Malaysian curry powder ($1.59) imported from Singapore; Mishima’s Nori Komi Furikake ($3.95), a roasted sesame and seaweed all-purpose seasoning, imported from Japan; and lastly, Morinaga‘s milk caramel candy ($1.95), imported from Japan in a box that states “Since 1913.”
Mulberry Street just landed a sweet spot on my list of favorite food blocks in NYC. I’ll be back soon, I promise. Xx