Thursday, February 18, 2010

New life for an old market

Various styles of Chinese calligraphy.Image via Wikipedia

I used to be a big fan of King Fung, the Chinese supermarket on Kinderkamack Road in River Edge, drawn by its live fish and Dungeness crabs, fresh greens and a nice selection of inexpensive Japanese bowls. I even wrote it up several years ago when I was doing the Marketplace column at The Record.

But as the years passed, the store became increasingly shabby. I gauged the decline by the filthy floor in the produce section and, eventually, I stopped going.Yesterday, I went back, looking for more Japanese bowls, and discovered the New King Fung Supermarket, which has been refurbished and rearranged.

The worn, dirty linoleum floor has been replaced and there is a new fish case and new signs. The drop ceiling also may be new. The store seems brighter. The same courteous cashiers are on duty. There's no need to go to Flushing or Chinatown for ingredients: It's all here.

Shelves are filled with a wide selection of dried noodles; small jam-filled cakes and mochi; bottled cooking wine, sauces and oils; and canned eel and fish. I saw more than 20 kinds of whole fresh fish on a bed of ice, a tub of live frogs and tanks of live fish and crabs.

The produce section is full of fresh-looking greens and Chinese vegetables. There are cases of frozen dumplings and other food. Meat, chicken and herbal remedies are also available, as are bags of California-grown rice. Take-out Chinese food is inexpensive, but it doesn't look too appetizing.

I bought four medium-size Japanese bowls at $4.99 each (great for cereal, soup or rice); Shanghai bok choy, Chinese cooking wine and small fruit mochi and mango cakes, and put New King Fung back on my list of great places to shop for food.

For dinner last night, I blanched six to eight whole bok choy in boiling water for a few minutes, then transferred them to a pan with heated cooking wine and soy sauce, seasoned them with black pepper and covered the pan, allowing them to cook for about five minutes. We had them with wild-caught fried flounder from Costco and spaghetti in marinara sauce. A nice dinner.

New King Fung Supermarket, 625 Kinderkamack Road,
River Edge; 201-262-8558. No Web site.

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