as a little girl, we would stop by on piano lesson days. i had never traveled anywhere before, but on the other side of the swinging door was another world. the isles were lined with fruits and vegetables and herbs i had never seen. the counter was home to colorful candies decorated with words from another land. the wall held a container of some spongy substance labeled “cooked blood”. 

mother would buy young coconuts and tahini. my sisters and i would wander the isles in wonder. if we were lucky, the trip might end with Japanese bubble gum.

little girls grow up. they move to new towns and get new piano teachers. through the passage of time, I’ve always remembered the asian grocer as a place of exotic imagination. 

this fall, i moved back to the water. this fall, i moved back to where i started. 
the place came back to me on a winter day. it came with sore arms and chalky hands following an afternoon of climbing rocks. i didn’t realize it until i walked through the swinging door, but this was the place of my childhood. 

stopping there now is just as it was then - an imagination game. sometimes, i lose track of time wandering up and down the isles, dreaming of the places and people that these ingredients came from.  

i still stare at the exotic fruits. 

i still gag over the bin of cooked blood. 

my most recent purchase from the asian grocer was a canister of powdered lemongrass. this is what i did with it. 



8-10 oz coconut milk 

teensy pinch of salt 

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 

1/8 teaspoon lemongrass powder

1 teaspoon matcha powder 

1 teaspoon coconut oil 

honey (or coconut sugar) to taste

1. heat the coconut milk until just simmering

2. add all ingredients to a blender and blend until very frothy (about 30 seconds)

3. taste, adjust, and froth again (i repeat this step many times)

4. sip slowly while imagining a day of exploring southeast asian rice fields

some notes: 

i never actually measure things. for the purpose of recipes, measuring things is obviously necessary. adjust the proportions to your liking. 

i also like things sweet and add about 3 teaspoons of honey to my matcha

you can find powdered lemongrass at most asian grocers. you can also order it on amazon.

happy drinking.