I stop by the Chinatown T&T Supermarket two or three times a week. I have given this thought: if I moved to a remote area, what foods would I miss? Here are my top three T&T favourites:
1. Bright coconut juice
It’s made of 80% coconut juice and has tiny pulp pieces. The other coconut juice brands were disappointing so be wary.
2. 十全 handmade miso soup paste
You must try this if you like miso. This paste has full-bodied flavor and the rice and soya bean bits give it a grainy texture. Heat water and add a tablespoon per bowl. It is also delicious as a soup base for rice noodles.
3. Shirakiku pickled plums
These mushy pink delights are salty and sour, and definitely not for everyone. Or maybe I should say, it is an acquired taste. Pickled plums bring out the flavor of seafood or leafy greens like spinach and gai lan. Serve one per person on the side and with chopsticks. Please don’t put a whole plum in your mouth or you’ll hate them forever, and that would be sad. Put a tiny smudge of plum in your mouth followed by a bite of seafood or leafy green. Chew. If all goes well, you should see something like this:
2 things to know about T&T:
1. Not M-F but F-M
They have 4 day specials so the best time to shop is Fri-Mon, and go early if you are buying seafood. Watch for clams and live shrimp specials! You can check the weekly flyer online before heading out.
2. Cakes solve problems
It’s someone’s birthday, it’s a special dinner, or a co-worker is leaving, and you need to bring something, anything. Bring cake! Cake makes people happy. You can order it the night before (T&T closes at 9pm). Or you can do a walk-in purchase, but don’t expect selection and don’t try it on Mother’s Day or you’ll end up with a loaf of coconut bread.
I can vouch for the mango mousse cake. It has two layers of light mousse and is not overly sweet. I bought it for Mother’s day (ordered the night before) and I knew it was a hit when my dad, who doesn’t eat dessert, ate two slices.
The black forest cake is good too. I ended up with this once when I did a walk in purchase.
Average price of a cake is $30, depending on size. Check their websites to see the prices and photos of various T&T cakes.
T&T is at Keefer and Abbott (179 Keefer Place).