As every good family cook knows, the secret to cooking at home with ease and comfort is getting ahead with prep work. Marinate that pork loin you picked up this morning in lechon asado spices and cover in foil for the oven tomorrow. Roast that pumpkin you bought on a whim and freeze dough for a pie you’ll probably make this weekend. Pickle that leftover white cabbage, daikon, chili and ginger in sea salt and vinegar to be added to stir fries next month. You get the drift.
But freshness requires persistent shopping. Constantly running to the market, especially those after-work jaunts to foreign markets with poor quality, overpriced produce, isn’t possible or even advisable for most of us. Happily, we live in the country of kuaidi delivery, and there’s a wealth of good, healthy, delicious farmer’s market essential products you can order on your phone. Here’s a few of our favorites.
Little Edamame Produce (毛毛豆)
Maodoudou, or “Little Edamame,” is a Beijing based company registered for over twenty years that delivers certified organic produce grown in nearby farms directly to your door. For RMB 198, they’ll deliver your family a veggie “gift box” with five kilos of ten different kinds of vegetables, three of which are leafy greens. They also have a smaller four kilo option for RMB 178. They also sell farm fresh eggs. You can communicate with them via WeChat to learn more. (WeChat: maodoudouyjsh)
Love Farmer Produce (爱农)
Literally translating to “Love Farmer,” Ai Nong specializes in a similar service to Mao Dou Dou, but with more market saturation. They require a bit of a commitment with its monthly delivery plan. Using these plans makes the price cheaper than Mao Dou Dou’s one time delivery. For one month, 3 kilos of at least six kinds of veggies, one kind of fruit and apparently a dozen eggs will be delivered every a week. (That’s a lot of eggs!) Conveniently, they have a JD shop for ordering. (JD Shop: 爱农生鲜专营店)
This home bakery produces, in our opinion, some of the finest bagels we’ve ever seen in Beijing. All the Bake Shop’s products are artisan and completely homemade, and must be ordered in advance for pick up or delivery. They are probably best known for making a real, natural fermentation sourdough loaf (RMB 30) as well as those bagels (RMB 54 for 5). We haven’t even mentioned the cookies. Try a sampler pack of six: a pair each of chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, and butter oatmeal raisin. Devour them all yourself while donning a “I’ll start my diet tomorrow!” t-shirt. (WeChat: thebakeshop )
Naked Nut Butters
These rich, all natural almond and cashew butters (both RMB 50) are a staple in our pantries. Super smooth, they never seem to make it to bread, and are just sneakily eaten spoon by spoon. They also blend up some creative Nutella replacements like a chocolate chip almond spread (RMB 55), or their Tir-辣-misu, an almond tiramisu spread with a pinch of chili (RMB 55) Note that, according to a recent WeChat post, their products will have a slight, as yet unspecified price increase in the near future. (WeChat: NAKEDnutbutters)
Purveyors of made in-house, quality cured meats, kimchi, jams and pickles, Bubba’s Pantry is the place to outsource some of that prep work I mentioned earlier. Their kimchi is stellar. They also sell sauerkraut, various fruit jams, sweet pickle relish and even pickled eggs. Note that they make things seasonally like all thoughtful cooks, so menu items can and will change. Contact Bubba himself to see what deliciousness they are making that week. (Wechat: DrewEzzell)
This article originally appeared in beijingkids’ October 2017 issue.
Download the digital copy here.