“I’m in and out of different stalls and stores so much that I don’t even know their names,” Chinchakriya Un said, with a laugh. The chef had left her Brooklyn apartment at dawn with an empty external-frame backpack slung over one shoulder. In Chinatown, Un soon tracked down a jar of salty preserved limes at a table set up between two parking meters. She picked up taro, tamarind, and moringa. Almost every stall carried galangal, but Un wanted the full root, and finding it took up more of the morning than she had planned. When she returned to the commissary kitchen that she rents space in, Un’s backpack was also filled with fermented fish, Makrut-lime leaves, and bundles of bright-green herbs.
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