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[MSP] International Hmong Market


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If you haven't been, get there.

217 Como Ave., St. Paul (intersection of Como and Marion). I'm sure it's in a former lumber yard or some such type of place, and I'm sure that the the covered lumber-storing-type places (ala Menards) have vendors in the summer. But, at this time of year, it's all about the two very large buildings, with all sorts of things.

All sorts of things include loud music -- DVD's and CD's. Lots of clothing -- all florid -- including shoes of toe-pinching and back breaking type. Lots of polyester. Want "Virgin" soap ("clinically proven) (we were sure this was to wash away the sins :-) ). A good array of cooking stuff, including rice cooker, stainless steel spiders, woks for a crowd, and more rice spoons than one can shake a stick at.

But, in the East Building, a very nice food court. So, for breakfast today, from the Nyob Zoo Kitchen (farthest right as you face most of the places:

Som Tam (sp?), aka Papaya Salad. This was outstanding, and once the cook realized that I called it Som Tam (Thai) or Tom Sam (Loatian), he realized I wasn't his typical Farang. This was truely wonderful, and we must have gotten a quart for about $5.00.

Also notable was the curry noodle soup.

Their eggrolls were forgettable, but then again, they're not something that I waste fat and calories on. If you are into egg rolls, there is another place that's about half-way toward the west side of this bank of food stalls that looked better.

I've had preferred to try some of the soup things with all sorts of odd animal parts instead, but I was with a group of folks.

There were many roasted squabs (near as I could figure out, giving my very rusty Thai, and almost non-existent Laotian or Hmong language skills).

The big place opposing the Wall 'O Foodstalls that has more different kids of Bubble Tea also has a very nice raw beef larb (although not quite enough lime or fish sauce for my taste).

There is also an area in the West building that has many vendors with pristine produce. Cheap. Think $2./lb for ginger. Pomelos to die for. Some sort of Chinese broccoli that was beyond gorgeous. I don't think I've ever seen more pristine eggplants (those little stripey Thai ones). A couple of the veg vendors are also carrying a variety of planting vegetables that are not commonly seen in the Twin Cities -- even at the farmer's markets.

This place reminded me so much of a typical Thai market, at least those of 30 years ago, minus the guy selling meat that he removed off a hook (read meat covered in flies) and whacked off what you want, and there were no open basins of curry paste (sigh).

We arrived on Sunday at sometime between 10:00 and 10:30 am, and the place was busy, and when we left and noon, beyond crowded. We only spottedone other Farang, making five of us, which is always a good sign.

Next time, I'm getting one of the big ass bowls of soup with all sorts of odd meat parts and veg I don't have a clue about.

They are open from 7-7 365 days a year. I'm planning to stop on Thanksgiving day for a nice plast of Som Tam.

I'd advise if you go to go with a group of at least four, be prepared to share dishes, and plan to wander around and look at everything, be it food related or not.

Anyone else been?

Edited by snowangel (log)
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I may go to the Hmong market on Saturday with my wife and our friends, who are not as adventurous as I am when it comes to eating. Any suggestions for a few white folks? Also, I enjoy Cantonese food (spent time near Guangzhou) is there any food I should look for? Any particular vendor/restaurant?


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For the less adventurous, you can't go wrong with the egg rolls (fried type), noodle soups or grilled meats. If you are adventurous, I really do recommend the som tam (green papaya salad). Go back to my first post for the location. They will pound it for you, and it is wonderful. As I've said before, this is an experience, and a good one!

Please report back if you do go as to what you ate and how it was.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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  • 2 weeks later...

My wife and I went to the Hmong International Market on Saturday. We both enjoyed it a lot but I really loved the feel and the different vendors. It reminded me of my time in Southern China, but with different vendors. I purchased some longans and baby bananas. Unfortunately, they didn't have any lychee. I wonder if they will sell lychee during a different time of year?

As for the food court, I had the papaya salad from Nyob Zoo and really enjoyed it. I couldn't finish it all so I took it home. My wife, who is less adventurous, had some egg rolls that she thought were very good. She also tried by papaya salad and enjoyed it.

We both want to go back and look some more and eat more of the great (and cheap) food.

Thank you for opening our eyes to this great market in St. Paul!

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