Saturday, December 10, 2005

Vietnamese Grocery.

Went to the Vietnamese Grocery next to a hospital I cover. Their produce section is a normal size, but seems to have more wonderfully real smells of mint and other sharper smells of what I can only think may be lemon grass and various choys. I can only identify every other food, but they're all labeled in Vietnamese. It’s easy to focus down on the lovely colored and textured fruit. So easy that it becomes difficult to look around me at the young and the ancient and no-one in between as the Vietnamese shop.

They are all lovely, thin; putting bunches of green leaves into bags and carts.

The fish. The ones on ice are done. They stare off past me. The catfish are alive and swim over each other in a tank. In groups of 5 they get pulled out, immolated, and then laid out on the ice. I got three huge sections. Two tilapia as well. They include the heads in the bad. The men are covered in their work. They are as lean and quick as whippets. The bags carry liquid inside and outside. The grip of the bag is damp. There is none of the plastic separation between you and the animal.

I've already passed five bean curd foods, but stop for fresh tofu. Its 20 cents per pound more than the tofu we normally get, so I live large. The fresh tofu is warm and because it is enclosed in a yellowed water, I get the impression I'm holding a bag of urine. Later I'm to find the tofu not exactly tasteless, like water is not exactly tasteless, and composed of a firm external texture and nearly molten inner texture. There are crevices within the tofu that catch the soy sauce and vinegar nicely.

I failed to look for more tofu, but did look for bean curd to make soup. This is known to be very good and I got a tub full.

I wandered through rice cakes, and rice noodles, in all their wide, thin, soft, hard, colored combinations. They sell all parts of pigs and cows there. How many sorts of tripe can there be? I counted two. Pork liver sausage? I passed.

The checkout was as western as the back was eastern. I could have picked up a Coke, Pepsi, Kit Kat, or Snickers. I passed.

The person in front of me bought many vegetables, many teas, unidentifiable dried mushrooms (I think), and lychee. I love lychee, sweet mucus of the gods. The old couple behind me bought many vegetables, unidentifiable dried meats (fish?), and unidentifiable red meat cuts.

I was sorry to pay because I was sorry to leave. In total, I count the hour or so passed in the grocery time well spent. The result is delicious.

Oh yeah, Vietnamese sandwiches need but one word: yum!


Blogger acumamakiki said...

I love asian markets. When I lived in San Francisco and downtown, I used to do a majority of shopping in Chinatown and I miss it. The fresh produce, interesting packaged goods....all the choices are just what I want and need!

This is the one thing I miss about living in the burbs. The lack of diversion in food and choices thereof.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Doc NOS said...

Well, CA in general! Great produce.

The fish soup went from pretty damn good, to stinky within a day. Oh well, there's more where that came from.

4:33 PM  
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