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I recently returned to Newark’s Ironbound district, the mecca for all things Portuguese and Brazilian. The area is host to six suburban-sized Seabra’s supermarkets all within walking distance of each other – the mother lode of Portuguese and Brazilian food cravings! Since I was traveling solo that day, I and my OCD decided to hit every one in order to compare and contrast.

And it was absolutely worth the exercise, because I struck gold in the form of Brazilian prepared food.

I’ve written here about churrasco, Brazilian style grilled meat; churrascarias often offer rodízio where waiters parade an assortment of meats impaled on formidable skewers directly to your table. So I was more than pleased to see that a couple of the Seabra’s I visited had continually replenished extended steam tables and refrigerated counters brimming with a diversity of grilled meats, seafood, authentic Brazilian dishes and the best pão de queijo I’ve had in a long time.

Item by item, I filled my containers, hastily scribbling notes between each addition in order to subsequently identify and further research it.

I arrived home with my treasures and piled them onto the three plates shown here – not for serving purposes but so that you could see the sheer variety and abundância; obviously, there are considerably more than three meals represented here. Everything was delicious and, more important, a fraction of the cost of venturing out to a churrascaria a few times.

So it wasn’t quite rodízio because I had to serve myself, but it was close enough, hence the title of this post.

And yes, I’m going to do this again. Soon.

Herring in Garlic Sauce

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Okay. One more post from my Little Poland explorations. I discovered several brands of herring each offering a number of divergent styles in the refrigerator cases of Polish food markets in Greenpoint. In this case, the brand was Lisner and the style was “in garlic sauce”. Not all of the products were equally enjoyable but this one easily made the cut.

Plated over shiso leaves (yes, I know, but I’m all about multiethnic), I dressed it up with cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced sweet onion and tiny adorable cucamelons, aka Mexican sour gherkins (yes, I know, but I’m all about…), Mediterranean capers (yes, I know, but…) and snipped Chinese garlic chives (yes, I…you get the idea), accompanied by a hyperbuttered toasted poppy seed bagel.

Lots of good eats in this neighborhood!

Bicol Express

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One of my first posts on this website, “Dem Are Good!”, exposed my fondness for (read: addiction to) Nagaraya Butter Flavor Cracker Nuts. (IYKYK. And if you don’t, take my Ethnic Eats in Elmhurst food tour and I’ll hook you up – they’re called CRACKer Nuts for a reason.) Like all good things, it seems they have become harder to track down as the years have gone by, but my source, Phil-Am Food Mart at 70-02 Roosevelt Ave in Woodside, often has them in stock.

In addition to providing the elusive Cracker Nuts I had been stalking, Phil-Am also offers a considerable selection of top notch locally made prepared food. Since Filipino cuisine is one of my all-time favorites, I can never visit without picking up at least one main dish, in this case a pint of Bicol Express.

Bicol Express is made with pork stewed in spicy coconut milk infused with shrimp paste and laden with green chilies. Named for the Bicol Express, a passenger train that ran from Manila to the Bicol region in the Philippines, I guess you could think of this dish that’s both creamy and spicy as running from one terminus on the flavor route to another.

It should be served with rice, so I made my version of Bagoong Fried Rice. (Oversimplification: Start with onions, garlic and the all-important Ginisang Bagoong sautéed shrimp paste; fry together; add pre-cooked refrigerated white rice; continue to fry; add scallions and sometimes mangoes to finish.)



Posted for the sake of completeness, here are two final photos from my Greenpoint Polish explorations back when I was deciding about introducing a Little Poland ethnojunket.

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These are Pyzy. In Polish, the letter Y sounds like a short I, so the singular, pyza, rhymes with “is a” – which explains why, although tempting, the title of this post isn’t Easy Pyzy.

Now that that’s out of the way, pyzy are boiled Polish dumplings made from a combination of raw and boiled potatoes held together with flour and eggs and commonly stuffed with cheese, mushrooms, or meat (like these). Homespun and heavy, they’re served as a filling main course often with fried onions on the side.

The cake rolls are Rolada (like French roulade) – custardy raspberry above and hazelnut below.

So maybe we didn’t start with easy peasy, but we ended with a piece of cake! 😜


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Almost sounds like “lasagna” but with a cute Polish spin on it – and there may be a connection. From Wikipedia:

“Łazanki arrived in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the mid-16th century when Bona Sforza, Italian wife of King Sigismund I the Old, brought high Italian cuisine to the country. Accordingly, the name łazanki is reminiscent of the Italian lasagna, the name for a type of pasta in the shape of large, flat rectangles. Since łazanki resemble mini versions of lasagna, their Polish name is correspondingly diminutive in form: little lasagna.”

Or so goes the legend. In any event, boiled łazanki noodles are cooked with either fresh cabbage or sauerkraut, mushrooms, onions, pork fat, optionally kielbasa, and topped with sour cream (of course).

Tastes as comforting as it looks. More Polish leftover photos to come. Stay tuned.


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Thought I’d share a few leftovers with you. Not leftover food, but leftover photos – from the time not long ago when I was prowling the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn deciding whether I should put together a Little Poland ethnojunket.

First up, here is a peek inside a Krokiet, a Polish croquette. Krokiety are crêpes that are filled, rolled up, breaded and fried. They’re served as a snack or as part of a more expansive meal and can be stuffed with meat (like this one), cabbage, mushrooms, sauerkraut or a combination thereof. If it looks like a breaded blintz, you’re not far off – it’s the breading that distinguishes it from its cousins.

More leftovers to come. Stay tuned.


Genatsvale is a touching Georgian word that doesn’t readily translate into other languages. At its essence, it is a term of endearment but it’s actually an elision/concatenation of a longer phrase which loosely deconstructed is, “If you are ever in trouble, let me take your place.” Sweet.

It is also the name of a new month-old Georgian bakery at 3070 Brighton 3rd St in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn where the two items I’ve tasted have easily surpassed any other versions I’ve experienced – and that’s saying something.

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This is Achma. It looks like noodles with cheese, but it is considered a member of the khachapuri family (Georgian breads). It consists of layers of thin handmade dough (a laborious task) interspersed with a mixture of cheeses all baked together until the top is brown and crispy and the cheese is melty and gooey. Their rendition of the dish is outstanding, and yes, we enjoy this seemingly modest miracle on my Exploring Eastern European Food in Little Odessa ethnojunket.

And speaking of sweet, what’s for dessert? They spell it Gada although I’ve seen Qada more frequently. The dough is rolled out, spread with a simple but rich filling, rolled up, and crinkle cut on the bias. It’s dense yet soft, a little crumbly, sweet but not cloying, buttery but not unctuous. Again, it’s by far the best I’ve had anywhere.

No surprise that they know me by now because I keep going back for more – so if you want to buy some for yourself, tell Katie or Linda that ethnojunkie sent you! (This is NOT a paid endorsement, but it is a recommendation!)

Or you could just take my tour to try these and even more delectable treats! 😉

Tukhum Barak

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Here’s another treat I discovered while looking for new goodies in Little Odessa. These are Tukhum Barak, unusual egg dumplings from the Khorezm region of Uzbekistan.

About 3½ inches square, they are unique in that during construction the filling is added while still a liquid. Picture a rectangle of dough folded in half, pinched tightly on both sides leaving a gap at the top into which the filling, made primarily from eggs, milk, and flour, is poured and then carefully sealed. They can then be boiled or pan-fried.

In this case, the dough was surprisingly rich, more so than a typical raviolo. The slightly salty filling was barely eggy, sharing the spotlight with the milk and flour, with a subtle touch of sweetness.

Want to try them? Of course you do! So join me on my Little Odessa ethnojunket. (Hint: there’s one coming up on September 1!) Please check out Exploring Eastern European Food in Little Odessa and sign up to join in the fun!


We’ve arrived at the final post in the “Should-I-offer-an-ethnojunket-in-Little-Poland” series and I’ve saved the best for last.

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Fortunately, the champion kielbasi purveyors are still going strong, their kielbasi are still the best I’ve ever tasted, and they still have the most bewildering assortment I’ve ever encountered.

Being an OCD type compelled me to do one of my “one of each please” shopping trips in every one of the best stocked venues. What I did not expect was that each shop had a considerable assortment on display that was almost entirely different from that of their nearby competitors!

Among these culinary masterworks, some distinctions are fairly easy to quantify along a sensory continuum: fatty<–>lean, barely smoky<–>double smoked, chunky<–>finely ground, dry<–>moist, and the like. But then you get into specific flavor profiles: wiejska is garlicky with coriander seed, mustard seed, and thyme, kabanosy is flavored with caraway, wiśniowa is smoked over cherry wood so there’s a subtle sweetness to it, myśliwska (hunter’s sausage) is flavored with juniper and slightly spicy (“spicy” is a relative term and these are very tame), bukowiańska is flavored with marjoram and bay leaf…I could go on.

They’re all pre-cooked, ready to eat, and conveniently consumed in chunks (the best way to eat them IMHO) rather than in slices from a 3-inch diameter log. And I’m not even covering varieties like biała (white) which are fresh and require cooking.

So now it’s your turn!

If this series has piqued your interest, let me know if you’re interested in joining me on a Little Poland ethnojunket to taste some of the goodies from this post and those before it: please email me directly at rich[at]ethnojunkie[dot]com.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Pierogi in Greenpoint

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I’ve sampled pierogi from at least four Greenpoint locations (I’ve lost count) in my quest to find the best of the best for a possible ethnojunket to that neighborhood. Here are two of six varieties that also included sweet cheese, blueberry, mushroom, and potato along with a ubiquitous Polish side dish.

The one on the left is called Ruskie (pronounced rooskieh) and no, it doesn’t mean Russian; it refers to Ruthenia, a historical region that spans what is now western Ukraine and southeastern Poland, so Ruskie means “Ruthenian”. The filling is cheese (specifically twaróg, Polish farmer’s cheese) and mashed potato, and these were sufficiently cheesy to yield a mini cheese pull when I cut them open. The pieróg (singular) on the right is filled with mięsem (meat).

Sałatka Jarzynowa is shown in front (literally “vegetable salad”) and there were as many iterations of this dish in the area as there were pierogi. They all consist of the same basic ingredients chopped together: potatoes, hard boiled eggs, carrots, peas, celery, onions, pickles, mayonnaise, and a variant or two like apples, but despite the similarity in recipes, some were simply better than others IMHO. I suspect it has as much to do with the coarseness of the chop as it does the seasoning.

I’m planning another couple of Greenpoint posts to see if you’re interested in joining me on an ethnojunket to Little Poland, so stay tuned!