I was late to the party, again. It took me two years to finally make it to Hmong Village in St. Paul. Hmong Village is a collection of small stores all housed within a former warehouse: jewelry, shoes, clothing, CDs, DVDs, assorted services, wholes spices, healing herbs, a produce market, grocery store, and best of all a dozen or so food vendors serving up egg rolls, rice and noodle dishes, bread, sweets (lotus flower cookies are like Hmong rosettes), banh mi, sausages and fried pork belly as big as your arm, ribs, eggs, stuffed chicken, meatballs on a stick, deep-fried whole fish, papaya salad, sesame seed-sticky rice balls (filled with corn meal the texture of yolks from a soft boiled egg), and bubble tea.
We wandered the stalls; admiring the colors and smells, talking to vendors, sampling tiny fruits and nibbling at flaky croissants. Food portions were huge but inexpensive. A family of four could eat a substantial meal for well under $20. This place is rocking even on a weekday so parking in the lot is tricky but doable.