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Jaymes

Aji Amarillo in Houston for Lomo Saltado

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My son loves to cook and his new interest is in Peruvian cuisine, particularly "Chifa," Peruvian-Chinese:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chifa

 

One of the iconic Chifa dishes is Lomo Saltado, which includes, among other things, a chile pepper called Aji Amarillo:

 

http://www.piscotrail.com/2011/08/02/recipes/lomo-saltado-chinese-peruvian-beef-stir-fry/

 

 

He hasn't been able to source the fresh peppers in Houston, but has found Aji Amarillo paste, which is what he's been using.  But I'm wondering if anyone knows where to find the fresh peppers. 

 

 

 


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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FWIW, I almost never see those fresh here either, but can find them frozen at several stores in the Mission district.  Much better than the paste, which in fact I've never liked.  Frankly, if he can't find them frozen, I think he'll do better rehydrating dried.

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Well Jaymes I don’t know what I can possibly tell you or your son about shopping in Houston that you don’t already know, but here goes.  If there’s a specialty South American grocer in town I don’t know about it.

First place to look would be Fiesta, of course.  I’ve shopped at Fiestas all over town looking for specialty ingredients and the ones on the west side are the best ones for South American products in my experience.  In fact it was that Fiesta at Mason and I-10 I think where I first came across the jarred aji pastes several years ago.  I have since seen them elsewhere but they’re not stocked at the Fiestas near me.  I looked over the produce and freezer sections there but I never thought to check out their dried chilies.  There has been something of an explosion of Peruvian restaurants here in the last few years and I think there may be more availability now.  Ask the produce manager.

As far as fresh peppers, the stalls at the rear of Canino’s Produce Market might be worth a look.  You know the big spaces up front are really a wholesale produce market that’s open to the public, not a real farmer’s market, but the stalls at the very back are leased by individuals who come all the way from the Valley to sell their unique goods.  I wouldn’t get your hopes up but it would be worth a look.  You can always walk out back to the Tacambaro taco cart for some tacos de mollejas, some of the best sweetbreads you’ll ever have, and of course hit up El Bolillo while you’re in the neighborhood.

You are familiar with a certain Sr. Wah who has raved several times about Flores Spices, right across the street from Canino.  I’ve never been but since you’d be in the neighborhood you ought to check it out.

Another place to look for fresh would be at the Saturday morning Urban Harvest Eastside Farmer’s Market.  Called Eastside after the street it’s on it’s actually on the west side, inside the Loop, near Lamar High.  That’s the best one in town.  I’m pretty sure there are farmers in the area who specialize in peppers and that’s probably the most likely place they’d show up if anybody's growing them around here..

The biggest variety of dried peppers I’ve ever encountered was at the Mi Tienda in Pasadena but since they’re oriented so heavily toward the Mexican market I really doubt they’d have any South American varieties.  I wouldn’t make the trip all the way over there (or to the one on Tidwell, which would be considerably closer to you) just for that.

Since you’ve found that Peruvian restaurant out your way so agreeable have you thought to inquire there where they get their supplies?

Wish I could be more help.  Be sure to report back.

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Well Jaymes I don’t know what I can possibly tell you or your son about shopping in Houston that you don’t already know, but here goes.  If there’s a specialty South American grocer in town I don’t know about it.

First place to look would be Fiesta, of course.  I’ve shopped at Fiestas all over town looking for specialty ingredients and the ones on the west side are the best ones for South American products in my experience.  In fact it was that Fiesta at Mason and I-10 I think where I first came across the jarred aji pastes several years ago.  I have since seen them elsewhere but they’re not stocked at the Fiestas near me.  I looked over the produce and freezer sections there but I never thought to check out their dried chilies.  There has been something of an explosion of Peruvian restaurants here in the last few years and I think there may be more availability now.  Ask the produce manager.

As far as fresh peppers, the stalls at the rear of Canino’s Produce Market might be worth a look.  You know the big spaces up front are really a wholesale produce market that’s open to the public, not a real farmer’s market, but the stalls at the very back are leased by individuals who come all the way from the Valley to sell their unique goods.  I wouldn’t get your hopes up but it would be worth a look.  You can always walk out back to the Tacambaro taco cart for some tacos de mollejas, some of the best sweetbreads you’ll ever have, and of course hit up El Bolillo while you’re in the neighborhood.

You are familiar with a certain Sr. Wah who has raved several times about Flores Spices, right across the street from Canino.  I’ve never been but since you’d be in the neighborhood you ought to check it out.

Another place to look for fresh would be at the Saturday morning Urban Harvest Eastside Farmer’s Market.  Called Eastside after the street it’s on it’s actually on the west side, inside the Loop, near Lamar High.  That’s the best one in town.  I’m pretty sure there are farmers in the area who specialize in peppers and that’s probably the most likely place they’d show up if anybody's growing them around here..

The biggest variety of dried peppers I’ve ever encountered was at the Mi Tienda in Pasadena but since they’re oriented so heavily toward the Mexican market I really doubt they’d have any South American varieties.  I wouldn’t make the trip all the way over there (or to the one on Tidwell, which would be considerably closer to you) just for that.

Since you’ve found that Peruvian restaurant out your way so agreeable have you thought to inquire there where they get their supplies?

 

Interestingly enough, the first thing my son said to me on the phone was that he had tried "all the usual suspects" - Fiesta, Mi Tienda, and I can't remember what else he said - probably some of the big all-purpose "ethnic" markets like 99 Ranch and H-Mart.  Don't know how familiar he is with Canino's, but I definitely love the place.  And that Flores Spices is a wonder among wonders - one of the most amazing stores I've ever been in.  Honestly, you should get yourself there immediately.  Kind of a magical corner, what with El Bolillo right there, too.

 

But I decided to take the last line of your advice and telephoned Sur Peruvian Grill.  The guy said, "Check the Peruvian section at Fiesta - the one out here in Katy - that's where we buy ours."  Have to say that I'm in that Fiesta a lot and had no idea there was a "Peruvian section" in the produce department.

 

I don't know which Fiesta my son went to, but I got him this new info at once.  Pointed out that, not only could he find the peppers at the Fiesta out by me, but he could visit with his mama as well.

 

Going to work out great.

 

So, thanks.

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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Fiesta can be a pretty amazing store but I've got to say that pretty well blows my mind.  I'm just so used to the big one on Hillcroft and Bellaire where the emphasis is on Mexican, Central American and Caribbean.  And those folks at Sur Peruvian sound real nice.  I don't get around all over the metro like I used to a few years ago but I may have to drive all the way out there, eat at Sur Peruvian, and then go over and gawk at the Peruvian produce department at Fiesta!

 

And I will get up and check out Flores.  I'll be going back to Tampico when oysters are in season.

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