When a young man of Vietnamese descent inquired as to whether there was decent pho noodle soup in the area. I sent him to Asian Express in the Capitola Mall near Togo’s in the building that houses Ross. He told me later that he was quite pleased, and also turned me on to an Asian market on the Pleasure Point end of 41st Avenue.
The lotus flower is a symbol of fortune in the Buddhist religion, and also the name of this tiny market, located in a suite in the mall that houses New Leaf Market. It seems to specialize in Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese ingredients and carries some Indian basics as well.
I ended up leaving with a number of items with exciting culinary potential. The aroma of spiced Thai green tea filled the cab of our little truck as I read the directions from the collection of containers. Beef soup base will act as an expressway to bowls of pho soup, seasoned with hoisin sauce. With a couple of cups of coconut milk, I’ll use the little can of green paste to make chicken curry, and I’ll also compare it with my homemade version.
There were plenty of varieties of hot, fish, dressing and soy sauces to choose from, stinky fermented fish pastes, and tangles of tiny dried fish. Green tea ice cream was in the freezer, and there was even a selection of dishware.
I’m really happy to have such ingredients available on this side of the hill.
Lotus Asian Market, 1200 41st Ave., Capitola, 477-1987. Closed Wednesdays. Open at 11 a.m. Thursday through Tuesday, closing at 6 p.m. on Sundays and 8 p.m. the remaining days.