07 April, 2008

Lunch at A. Dong Supermarket, West Hartford CT

A. Dong Supermarket is the largest and most well-stocked Asian Supermarket in Connecticut. A full-service supermarket, the departments include aisles devoted to housewares, various ramen noodles, Japnese candies and snacks, and more - and there's even a gift shop to one side up front.

The front of the produce/meat section includes a hot and cold lunch counter, where you can get roasted pork, duck, or chicken, various noodle dishes, soup, bahns, and so on - ready to eat, or to take home to heat and eat. It's noisy and crowded at lunchtime, with people jostling to place their orders and deli workers with razor-sharp Chinese butcher knives chopping pork and duck into thin strips and packing them into take-out trays.

We stopped in on a recent Sunday to do some regular shopping and picked up a light lunch on the way out, picking up bahn bao and bi cuon to chase off the mid-afternoon munchies.

Bahn bao is a Vietnamese steamed dumpling about the size of a baseball. The dough is slightly sticky, but firm and light, neutral in flavor. It's gathered up around the filling (a few slices of Chinese sausage, half a hardboiled egg, and some ground pork seasoned with ginger and scallion, like the center of a wonton) and the bahn is then steamed. Dong's bahn bao are absolutely delicious.

We also bought a tray with a few bi cuon, a Vietnamese pork roll made with rice paper wrapping up a filling of finely julienned pork and pork skin, bean sprouts, noodles, cucumber slices, mint leaves, and ground brown rice. These were served with a few small hot bird's-eye chiles and a small cup of fish sauce for dipping, and they were as delicious as the bahn.

A. Dong Supermarket
160 Shield Street
West Hartford, CT 06110

They are the anchor of the Shield Street Shopping Plaza and the store is set back from the road - be careful you don't miss it as you go by!


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