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No Passport Required

World Foodie Travels At Home.

I am a jet setter!

This week I traveled to Korea, Mexico, Persia, Japan and Eastern Europe. This area is so diverse with lots of opportunity to explore all kinds of culinary delights from many different countries all within a few miles of my home. We always think about the big cities like San Francisco or Chicago where we can explore foods from around the world. These local culinary treasures are in our own backyard.

My adventure began with the Koreana Market in Rancho Cordova. The newly remodeled market is filled with lots of very interesting products. The truth is, most of them, I really know very little about or how to use them. The Korean ribs cut perfectly for the BBQ are a real hit in our family. We also enjoy a citrus concoction that resembles orange marmalade – the label is not printable in English, but described as Honey Citron Tea. It is a refreshing tea or used to baste fish and chicken. In the back corner of the store are six live fish tanks. They are set up for crab, abalone, black bass, catfish and others. They will be a great place to take the grandkids. In the middle of the store is a huge stainless steel tortilla maker. It smelled wonderful. I now know where to go to get fish heads for bouillabaisse stock and tamales at Christmas. They are building a food court next to the market. I wonder what will be in there.

Pomegranates are very popular these days. They have been around since the time of Moses and are mentioned many times in the Bible. I found pomegranate vinaigrette at a family owned Persian store on Fair Oaks Boulevard just on the border of Carmichael. An engaging couple, Majid & Forouzan own . They carry all the ingredients that give Persian cooking its special flavors. They serve lunch from 11:30 to when the food runs out. There is a small counter and six tables set up for their specialties. I love their pomegranate soup, which includes a variety of grains, beans and fried onions (only on Wednesday and Thursday). Forouzan is the chef and she takes great pleasure in presenting traditional dishes handed down from her grandmother.

Next stop: Japan. Gekkeikan Sake Factory has been in Folsom for 21 years. It began more than 360 years ago in Fushimi, Japan and has been family-owned the entire time. The access to high quality rice and good water made Folsom the perfect place. The building is definitely Asian Architecture, as it is surrounded by a Koi pond and garden. There is a self-guided tour of the plant, but the best part was the tasting of sake. The correct temperature and how to serve was very informative. My favorite was Junmai sparkling, similar to champagne. They offer sushi-cooking classes while sipping sake – I’m on the waiting list.

The Good Neighbor on College Oak Blvd. is a store that carries wonderful delicacies from Eastern Europe. You can hear different languages as the customers shop with their children, but the majority is from Romania and Russia. There is a big screen TV over the register playing a Russian soap opera (I could even figure that out). The staff is very helpful and welcomes samples of their wonderful sausages and salads. The potato salad is so finely diced that each ingredient was the same size as the petite green pea and still held its own within the delicate dressing. Absolutely delicious! The aroma of fresh baked bread was irresistible. The dough is made in Germany and then shipped frozen and baked at the store. I came home with pull-apart sweet bread with cherry filling. This experience had to finish with a sampling of the candy. Each chocolate piece was wrapped separately with a perfect surprise filling.

Although, it was a five-country tour in a short time, it was invigorating and eye opening. Can’t wait to leave my passport at home and tour again.

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Carol Gallagher May 05, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Alona Thanks for the wonderful tips!! I am always amazed, that after living here for 30 years, I find these things out. It was only a few months ago that I discovered downtown Sac had a fortune cookie factory. Have you "traveled" there?? Fresh and sometimes still warm. Yummmmm

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