Filipino Delights at Johnny Air Mart
Okoy, fried vegetable patties with shrimp.
At eight-month-old Johnny Air Mart, you can send packages to the Philippines via Johnny Air Cargo, shop for Filipino groceries, or pick up any number of ready-made Filipino dishes brought in daily from restaurants like Cafe Filipina and Casa Victoria in Newark.
In the refrigerated case, there are containers of pork adobo, bopis binagoongan (pork with shrimp paste), pancit bihon noodles, and a dozen others. Containers of sweet kutsinta (rice cakes) are stacked by the cash register, next to a heated case filled with pork barbecue skewers and fried fish. There's even a selection of Filipino candy bars, like milk chocolate Curly Tops.
On the second and last Saturdays of every month, the market brings in a whole pig lechon and sells it by the pound. The beast arrives around 11:30 a.m. and usually sells out within a few hours, so it pays to get there early and claim the parts you like.
Okoy, the shredded vegetable fritters topped with shrimp shown above, are probably not as crisp as they once were, but are delicious dipped in the vinegar that comes alongside.
Salted, dried, fried fish.
Jeprox, dried salted fish, is also available. Made from small goby fishes, the snack somewhat resembles plantain chips. But open the container and a smell as pungent as fish sauce comes galloping out. Like fish sauce, though, the taste is much milder than the aroma -- mildly fishy, salty, and crunchy, and fantastic dipped in more of that vinegar.
Johnny Air Mart 214 Avenue A 212-387-7080
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