Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Food of the Day -- Ting Ting Jahe Ginger Candy

Since I rarely plan more than a meal or two in advance, my trips to Asian groceries combine prospecting for serendipity with practicality. There are two Asian groceries in St. Paul that I favor. When I'm looking for Korean foods, I go to Kim's Oriental Market on Snelling (689 Snelling Ave N). For nearly everything else, I go to Shuang Hur on University (654 University W.). Shuang Hur is a more broadly Asian Foods store. It is not a little ethnic market, by such standards it is an enormous store with a butcher, a large produce section, and aisles of canned and packaged foods. Some people go to Target to shop for recreation. I'd rather wander the fishy smelling aisles to Shuang Hur or Kim's.

I don't have much culinary literacy with Asian foods. I wind up blankly staring at cans with strange crayfish-like creatures and directions in four languages and as many scripts. But occasionally I see something not too inscrutable, too complicated to prepare or too expensive and I drop it in my basket. Candy matches this criteria well. A recent favorite is Ting Ting Jahe ginger candy from Indonesia.

I usually see these chewy, intensely gingery candies in cigarette pack-sized boxes for less than a dollar, though I've seen them sold in larger quantities in clear bags. The individual candies are wrapped in a coated paper with a second thin edible rice paper wrapper inside. The boxes are cool. I'm tempted to roll one up in my shirt sleeve. They've become popular enough to show up in the Asian foods sections of Cub Foods.

Ginger is commonly considered a digestive aid. Next time the Mini Chef has a tummy ache, I'll see if a chewy ginger candy goes over better than a couple chalky Rolaids.

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