Cheaper Than Chinatown?

Having so many herbs and aromatics left over from last week – basil, mint, parsley, scallions, garlic – made me want to employ this fusion of fresh flavor into a Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad. I had everything to make it, except sugar (which I stole from work) and what I thought would be a good addition, cucumber. The need to buy a cucumber led me to Stiles, a small fruit stand in midtown west. I don’t know what truck this stuff fell from, but it is CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP! For less than a dollar (94 cents), I got a cucumber, two bananas, and a yam. (The milk in the photo is from Whole Foods, $1.19 with the bag discount). They have H & H bagels, coffee for $4.99 a pound, and herbs for $1. The market itself is practically a parking lot with a tarp over it, not unlike The Garden of Eden when it started on Third Avenue and 23rd Street, before it got fancy. Stiles is my new go-to grocery store.

I followed the Epicurious recipe for Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad pretty much verbatim, including pre-soaking and blanching the noodles, a step that many of their readers thought unnecessary. I found it mandatory, as it took the raw flavor out of the noodles. So much so that I blanched the julienned carrots (not shredded since I don’t have a grater). Refreshing on a bed of lettuce, every flavor shined against the background of the neutral noodles – the pungent dressing, perfume-y herbs, spikey scallions, sweet carrots, cool cucumbers, and crunchy peanuts. A summer salad extraordinaire.

Stiles Market, 52nd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues

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One Response to “Cheaper Than Chinatown?”

  1. Moira G Says:

    I love the piety Diet-y!

    Sign me up!! Not sure I can do…25 bucks a week…but going to try!!!!

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