Western Brooklyn

Five Delicious Snackable Foods To Try At The Asian Market

Photo by Bensonhurst Bean
Photo by Bensonhurst Bean

Quite the brouhaha unfolded this month over the sale of the New Utrecht Avenue Waldbaums to the Flushing-based Asian supermarket Jmart.

Those who complain that Bensonhurst is oversaturated with Asian groceries have clearly never visited the gourmet Queens superstore, with its expansive aisles of imported goods from the Philippines, Vietnam, China, India, Malaysia, and beyond. But the truth is, in addition to lower priced fruits and vegetables, many delicious treasures can be found at our neighborhood’s smaller Asian markets.

While some of the more exotic products (pickled plums and dried gecko, anyone?) can be daunting, these stores also sell many delicious and accessible snacks, that are even good for you!

We’ve rounded up five of our favorite foods found exclusively at Asian groceries that we think would appeal to a wide range of palates and do not require much preparation.

1. Red Bean Ice Cream Bars

Photo by Rachel Silberstein/Bensonhurst Bean
Photo by Rachel Silberstein/Bensonhurst Bean

At 170 calories a bar, you can’t go wrong with these babies. They are subtly sweet and creamy, and the legumes contained inside offer a unique crunch with every bite. Not bad for a dessert.

2. Potstickers

Photo by waytru/Flickr
Photo by waytru/Flickr

Even the pickiest of eaters love dumplings. We selected some pork, chive, and vegetable potstickers. Even while still frozen, the aromatic chive smell wafted from the bag. On a diet? No problem. Bake ’em in a toaster oven and you’re only clocking in 130 calories for five dumplings.

3. Korean Pears

Photo by Bensonhurst Bean

These monstrous, apple-shaped pears are juicier than your average American fruit and more mild in sweetness. As you near the core, the fruit gets slightly tarter. These fat, juicy babies are rather pricy — we doled out $7 for three of them — but they are luxurious and decadent, and so, so worth it.

4. Fish Sauce

Photo by Bensonhurst Bean
Photo by Bensonhurst Bean

For the potstickers. This low-calorie Asian condiment trumps soy sauce and ketchup any day. Though it’s made from salty fermented fish, the sauce doesn’t taste fishy. Rather this magical ingredient has the potential to add pizzaz to everything from pizza to soups and salads.

5. Green Tea Pumpkin Seeds

Photo by Bensonhurst Bean
Photo by Bensonhurst Bean

The green tea flavor lends these snackable seeds an Eastern twist. Nutritious and salty, these grass-colored pellets are a great substitute for chips, and can be eaten whole — shell and all.

Share your favorite Asian snacks in the comments and check out some of these grocery stores when you have a chance:

Best Fresh – 6719 Bay Parkway, (347) 374-4100

Legend Supermarket – 1811 86th Street, (718) 837-8231

New Group Market – 7012 18th Avenue, (718) 236-1168

Fong Zou Supermarket – 8514 18th Avenue, (718) 872-7022

Comment policy


  1. Sorry not to be politically correct but I am an American married to an American and I don’t want to eat those products. Now, everybody be nice with ur comments and try not to show how racist and anti-American u are. Americans in their own country are afforded free speech too.

  2. The person being racist and anti American is YOU. Nobody is telling you to eat these products (or anything else that will be sold at this supermarket) but you eat “anti American” everyday. Do you eat pizza because that was brought over from Naples Italy after WW!!? What about pasta (which is originally from China and improved on in Italy).What about Chinese food because, guess what I’m sure that they cook with items sold at this supermarket. There are so many other products that you probably don’t even realize come from this supermarket besides so many foods that have oringins .As for being racist, it’s all on you so stop eating that Kanish.

  3. I see nothing politically incorrect in your post. However, freedom of speech is the right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas without fear of *government* retaliation or censorship. However, Americans who exercise it are not immune to any negative social impact that results from hate speech. And too many people have resorted to hate speech on the supermarket topic.

    That said, you are free not to eat those foods, and I support your personal choice. No government agency can force you to eat them, nor make you shop at any of these stores. Nor can any non-governmental person or organization. But, the fact that you do not want them does not mean they are unwanted in the community. Sadly, the people who adamantly say they will not shop at these new Asian markets are the same people whose commerce wasn’t enough to keep Waldbaums and Pathmark in business. There are still plenty of other non-Asian markets in the area, for now.

    But, I do think you are missing out on some GREAT taste experiences. More for me, as they say.

  4. My wife and daughter just picked up this super-hot ramen that, apparently, everyone they know is talking about. They are going to give it a try this weekend. From the reactions of people who have tried it, and likened it to The Simpson’s Insanity Peppers, it’s probably too hot for my taste, but I’ll try a nibble before writing it off entirely. Who knows? I may end up liking it.

  5. Here’s a super easy beginner flavor; get the Sesame oil one. Its a red packet. Its not hot but still delicious. Once its boiling and the ramen is almost done drop a egg right in there. For a little spice add Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce. Its so much better then Sriracha and there more flavor then pure fire. Plus you can control the spicy that way.

  6. the neighborhood is going through a demographic shift. i bet you weren’t complaining when the italians were moving in.

  7. Everyone belongs here. Welcome to America, where we welcome people from every nation on earth, and offer them the opportunity for prosperity and freedom from persecution. It’s unfortunate, but the current state of the marketplace in Bensonhurst clearly refutes your original statement – we don’t have enough Asian markets because the ones we do have are thriving, and the competition isn’t putting them out of business. The free market forces say that Bensonhurst is the perfect place to open an Asian market.

  8. Lol Bensonhurst doesn’t need anymore prejudice like you. The neighborhood is thriving in diversity and I embrace it! You give our neighborhood a bad name. Love how you automatically generalize me and think I’m not a citizen.

  9. Well, I do have some Native American blood in me, but unless you do (and a much larger percentage than that Italian name of yours suggests), I don’t see where you get off telling anyone they don’t belong here.

  10. These posts are getting tired already! Every article in this rag on this sort of topic gets the same moronic responses from the neighborhood’s poorly attired and mushy-minded denizens. You know, there’s plenty of room in the neighborhood, in any neighborhood, for everyone. That said, I disagree with you Rager, the neighborhood is not diverse. It went from being about 85 percent Italian and Italian American (who were not exactly a group Americans welcomed with open arms, but that’s another conversation altogether) to being 70% or so Chinese. So, basically, one group has replaced another. I would hardly call that diversity. Sure there other people around, Poles, Russians, Mexicans, Greeks, etc. but there’s no true diversity; rather it’s one dominant group giving way to another dominant group. Frankly, I wish this neighborhood was actually diverse. That would in fact be quite nice!

  11. This is true, however with the list of other ethnicities you mentioned I bet they weren’t around in the 80s. So this area is much more diverse even with the dominant group of Chinese. We won’t ever be like Bay Ridge which, I’d like to think is more diverse or parts of Queens.

  12. Well, actually most of those groups were around in the ’80s (aside from Mexicans) and then there were of course other groups then and now. Is it much more diverse? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I stand by my original premise that the area isn’t diversifying; rather, one dominant group is replacing another (and these two dominant groups have a lot in common in terms of their settlement habits which have facilitated what is basically becoming a swap out). I think the lack of diversity is probably at the heart of most of the bigoted comments, as bizarre as that sounds. Bay Ridge is certainly more diverse and one feels it, parts of Queens, even more so. The diversity of those places makes them seem welcoming and opening to everyone. Who knows what the future holds. All I know is there is room for everyone.

  13. I’m looking to find some of my favorite Asian foods if anyone know where to find them in Bensonhurst?? (Densuke Watermelon, Red Blood Bird’s Nest, Kopi Luwak Coffee & Wagyu Kobe Rib Eye). I noticed that a lot of Asian countries were mentioned, but not Japan… are there no Japanese people in the area?

  14. Hm, there are no Japanese people around the Bensonhurst area, because most if not all Asians here are Chinese people; If you want Japanese snacks, you can visit Sunrise Mart at Manhattan’s Astor Place or Mitsuwa Marketplace in New Jersey.

  15. What about the Red Blood Birds Nest for making soup? That is a very Chinese dish is it not? Or the Kopi Luwak Coffee… I know you can find it online, but was wondering if there were any stores in the area that sold it for a better price than Dean & Deluca. I believe it comes from SE Asia, specifically the Philippines.

    Thanks for the tip about Sunrise Mart… hopefully I can visit and see what they have.

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