Every once in a while, my stomach starts clamoring for a certain food, and it doesn’t stop until it’s satisfied (Is this what pregnant women go through?). Often the craving’s for a particular Chinese dish; there must be something ingrained in my Chinese DNA (mom would be proud). When I get these cravings, I run off to Kam Sen Foods to buy the proper ingredients. Now, calling Kam Sen a “food find” is a bit of a stretch, since it’s a 20,000 sq ft supermarket in the middle of White Plains. But I’m always surprised how many people have never heard of it when they ask me where to buy Asian groceries in Westchester.
(Note: I just bought a new camera and was planning on taking some nice pics of the store. But then I noticed the employees eyeing me suspiciously — apparently not a lot of people come in and take pictures of roast pork — so I ended up whipping the camera out quickly and grabbing pics where I could. Not much art here.)
Kam Sen’s on the ground floor of the exceedingly drab White Plains Mall, home to the beloved Dept. of Motor Vehicles. Next time you’re in line at the DMV losing an hour of your life, look over to the right and you’ll notice Kam Sen:
Shopping here is a bit like being in Chinatown — you see mostly Asian faces and hear lots of people speaking Chinese. Be prepared to spend some time. Seriously. The variety of items can be overwhelming, especially for the newbie; I love taking friends to Kam Sen for the first time because their eyes bug out of their heads. On one side of the store you’ll find the produce section, with some familiar and not-so-familiar fruits and vegetables:
There are housewares and appliances, large jars of tea, refrigerators with fresh noodles and tofu, aisles of dried products and dried noodles, and my favorite, a mind-boggling aisle full of oils, sauces and crazy canned goods (you’re not likely to see canned quail eggs at Stop & Shop):
On the other side of the store is the meat section — everything is nicely presented and prices are great (pork loin was $3.19/lb today!). You’ll recognize most cuts of meat, although I’m guessing oxtail and pig’s feet might be a new one. The huge cases of refrigerators/freezers have an array of dumplings, dim sum products and desserts (aargh, still no good mochi!), Then there’s the seafood section, with its incredible selection of fish, shrimp, shellfish and crabs/lobsters in tanks:
Finally, up front you’ll find the bakery and prepared foods, like freshly made sushi and hot entrees. The best part are the rows of glistening whole Peking ducks and juicy roast pork:
It’s really a great store and it’s right in our backyard. So that’s my spiel. The next time you need soy sauce or sesame oil, don’t get that lame, watery stuff at the local supermarket. Take a drive to White Plains and check out Kam Sen. Just prepare to linger for a while.
Kam Sen Foods
22 Barker Ave.
White Plains, NY 10601