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May 23, 2008

Filipino Grocer in Durham - Phil Asia on Highway 54

A very cool person recently told me about this place, and I'm sorry I can't remember who it was.  If it was you, holler!

Phil Asia Market opened four months ago near RTP and has a bunch of cool stuff you might not find elsewhere.  Among them, the Magnolia brand ube and monggo bean ice milk pops which are currently calling to me from the freezer.


Ube is a purple yam used in the Philippines as a sweet, starch, and coloring ingredient.  Monggo beans are widely used throughout Asia and are also known as  the same thing as mong beans or green soy that you might have seen in other dishes. 

Western palates (especially Southern ones) are used to sweet potatoes serving in a dessert role.  But it's rare for us to see beans as a sweet dish ingredient and I'm suspect that these ube and monggo bean treats wouldn't be everyone's fave.  I guess that just means there's more for me.  In fact, I'll be surprised if I can write this whole blog without interrupting myself with a trip to the freezer.  But I digress...

So what should you try at the Phil Asia Market?  For sure I recommend the Magnolia brand ice creams of any flavor.  Phil Asia has several of the standard Magnolia flavors including ube, macapuno (a special coconut), and probably some others like mango.  Sausage fans should try to the Filipino-style longanisa.  I spotted several cooked/smoked/preserved bangus (milkfish) items on the shelves and in the freezers.  And if you like light, sweet breads, try the pan de coco: rolls with a bit of sugar and shredded coconut thrown in.

For more of the Filipino-American experience, click over to rapper NUMP on MySpace.  NUMP is a Filipino-American rapper out of the Bay who's done a Magnolia Ice Cream commercial

Phil Asia Market
1708 E. Highway 54
Durham (next door to the wacky True Value Hardware store, just west of the Highway 54/55 "Indigestion Intersection".)  This True Value has both a pharmacy and a wacky, ever-changing sign.  See one courtesy of Southern Kind of Life, a six-month-old blog from southern Durham (happy half birthday, SKoL!)


Magnolia Ice milk photo from Ramar Foods in California. Magnolia has been the longtime "best of the major producers" ice cream brand in the Philippines, sort of like Breyer's was in the US until the early 80s when we got our first explosion of more premium ice creams. The US-distributed ice cream uses Filipino flavor ingredients plus US cream.

11:01 PM in Destination Durham, Food | Permalink


Great post! Interesting read since I've never been to Durham. Keep in touch!


Posted by: FilAmPride | May 24, 2008 11:41:57 AM