Previously the soups of the day were served in rotation — literally, as the lady of the shop demonstrated by swiveling the golden pointer in the center of the sign — but lately it always seems to be time for odengguk. As at many such small markets, this Korean fish cake soup (pint, $3.50) is self-service, which might entice you to overstuff your container. Do scoop up some radish, kelp, and onion, too, but don't neglect the broth, made flavorful by a sachet of small, anchovy-like fish and suffusing all it touches. When you've eaten up, drink up.
K.Y. Grocery (a.k.a. K.Y. Fruit & Vegetable) 1578 York Ave. (East 83rd-East 84th Sts.), Manhattan 212-861-8466
Like their predecessors in this snug storefront, most recently Inthira, the aunties make room for a delightful variety of goods on the shelves, in the fridge, in the freezer case, and on the countertops, too. The featured ingredients of their freshly steamed toddy palm cakes (four for $3.50) are, I believe, the seeds of the nipa palm, which you might easily mistake for translucent sweet gummies the size of fat almonds.
The gumminess is gone from these cakes, thank goodness; most likely they were made from a palm-seed paste that has been given a golden color. Compare what I identified as palm sugar desserts at a Khmer celebration in the Bronx. The cakes, whose other ingredients include rice flour and coconut milk, have little flavor that can be pinned specifically on toddy palm, but the darker batch beside them taste decisively of banana.
A is not for "apartment house" with a commercial tenant tucked in the prow; A is for "Aztec architecture" enlivened by a chile-pepper apostrophe. As you've guessed, the deli counter focuses on Mexican fare. (A supplemental menu offers Dominican lunch specials, also prepared by an able hand; shards of concon, hidden behind the counter, await those who know to ask.) The edifice of my torta de lengua con todo ($7), a beef tongue sandwich with the works, was demolished in short order.
Andrea's Deli Grocery 1182 West Farms Rd. (at Home St.), Foxhurst, Bronx 718-589-2409
Some of these Afghan kolcha (about $8 per pound) will remind you of familiar American cookies, particularly the pale, pistachio-topped, melt in-the-mouth items up front. The brittle triangles are a little less sweet; their golden color presages the flavor of corn. The smaller round variety, whose indented tops sport a patch of nigella seeds, are actually salty; the counterman proclaimed them "good with tea." Over the course of several days, to my surprise, they proved to be the most compelling of the lot.
Look past the visual clutter outside this Israeli-American kosher market. Beside one doorway, the cellotape residue of previous flyers throws shade, literally, on a current special.
My dining buddy and I took note, and made haste; a few minutes later we pulled over to a quiet patch of sidewalk a half-block from Holon. Our plastic spoons were next to worthless for photo styling, so there's little to see here, apart from a pistachio garnish, of the orange blossom and mastika ice cream by Joy Betesh (pint, $4, unlabeled and very possibly underpriced by the cashier). So take my word: The orange is wonderful. We made a good dent in this pint before packing it up; my buddy doubled back for another, to hold in reserve.
Holon Middle East Groceries 527 Kings Hwy. (East 3rd-East 4th Sts.), Gravesend, Brooklyn 718-336-7758 Also at 809 Ave. U (East 8th-East 9th Sts.), Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn 718-627-5878 Closed Saturday www.HolonFoods.com
Previously: Crystal-clear Limonade La Gazelle (the photo is of a full bottle, $2) would be welcome alternative to Vimto, and housemade sorrel and ginger drinks, served in many West African restaurants. For widest Stateside distribution, however, this Senegalese soft drink would need to offer a list of ingredients more complete than "pur sucre."
Adja Khady Food Distributor 243 West 116th St. (Adam Clayton Powell Junior-Frederick Douglass Blvds.), Manhattan 646-645-7505
Bubur sumsum (Boo-bor Soom-Soom, shown after stirring, $3.50), an Indonesian rice-flour pudding, is lightly flavored by pale green pandan and sweetened by brown sugar. "Sumsum," Indonesian for bone "marrow," gives a good sense of the texture, which is creamy and yet a little slippery, too.