633 Minnehaha Avenue W.
St. Paul, MN 55104
Picking tiny St. John's Wort flowers in today's heat and humidity left me parched and nearly delusional. On my way home, I passed by Dragon Star and felt compelled to take a peek.
As a side rant, I am perplexed by the usage of the word "Oriental" by both Asians and non-Asians alike. I am even more stunned by a recent radio commercial for an Applebee's salad. An Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad. In 2011. Could Applebee's really not come up with a different name for this salad? How did this happen after all of the test marketing and research I assume a corporation like Applebee's sponsored before releasing the salad? Stunned, I tell you.
I took advantage of Dragon Star's vast and affordable produce selection stocking-up on choy sum, lychees, mangoes, and eggplant. When I got to the onion section, I was disappointed to find most of them were smushy and dripping. I fished around and grabbed the most firm specimen and tried to shake off my sticky hand.
This morning, I did not purchase any meat or seafood, but remembered Maykao Hang recommended the seafood in The Heavy Table's article, "A Day in the Kitchen of a Hmong Family:"
I can only imagine Dragon Star's sprawling selection of meats and seafood are also affordable. I also appreciated that Dragon Star carried a variety of foods from other cultures. When I noticed the Mi Costenita bags of fried lima beans with chili, I jumped with joy.
Overall, I found Dragon Star to have a wide selection of products and appealing produce section. The store appeared to be on the gritty side, but the prices seemed more affordable than United Noodle.
On my way out, I grabbed a couple, plastic take-out containers of prepared foods made by Ala Francaise French Bakery. What I love most about United Noodle is their deli selling roasted meats, dumplings, and comforting foods at ridiculously low prices. I noticed they will be remodeling and hope it will include a deli.
For $3.75 I bought a container of four Vietnamese eggrolls.
The wrapper layers were thin and crispy. There was a lot more wrapper in proportion to filling, but I found the wrapper so delightfully crispy and light that I didn't mind. I thought the dipping sauce tasted extremely sweet and fishy, so I dipped the egg rolls in the spicy curry sauce. The filling was well seasoned and, in general, I adore eggrolls that include vermicelli noodles in their filling.
I also bought a container of rice noodles garnished with cilantro, shredded cabbage, and julienned cucumber alongside a bag of red curry containing ground chicken for $2.99.
For $2.99, this was an enormous meal that practically filled a quart-sized container. The red curry soup was pleasantly spicy (although not mind blowingly-hot). I felt the soup was a tasted slightly unbalanced, so I added a drizzle of honey which improved the flavor and offset the saltiness. The rice noodles were a little smushy, but the vegetables and chicken tasted fresh.
In conclusion, Dragon Star is not located near by home so I would visit again when I was not in a hurry and try the meat and seafood. I was satisfied with the produce selection and savored the shatteringly crisp eggrolls but will also explore other Asian grocery stores closer to home. Out of curiosity, does anyone have recommendations in the South Metro?