Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tofu To go

Whenever we go to a new country, Anthony and I like to visit the grocery stores. We find it a fascinating way to see how the people actually live. We are always enthralled at the quality and prices of most of the stuff (never thinking of how we would miss buying some of the stuff we get regularly at home, like tortillas and salsa!).

It felt like we did that again this week, when we visited a new Asian megamart grocery store that just opened in North Austin. It was absolutely huge and packed with cheap stuff. The strip mall that surrounds it will soon be filled with Asian-related shops, including 8 restaurants.

As we walked in the entry way of the store, the overwhelming smell of seafood and slightly rotten produce greeted us with the Buddha sitting by the door. "I don't think this is a good idea," Anna said, holding her wrinkled nose. I assured her it would be alright, just different, and it was. The produce was fascinating - huge spiny fruits and wrinkly knobbly vegetables I'd never seen before. A Thai man and his wife gushed about the Asian pumpkin so much I had to buy a slice. The tofu was sold in bulk and it was so cheap! And there were at least 2 aisles of dried fish. My kids' favorite part was the tanks of live fish: big-lipped catfish, silvery tilapia, and clawing crabs.

After a while, all the choices of curries, pot stickers, and noodles was overwhelming. All the packaging looked so different that what we are used to at a traditional store. Anthony took the kids home so I could check out all the frozen foods and dishware in peace. The weirdest thing I saw: plucked decapitated duck heads, all lined up on a styrofoam tray, wrapped in cellophane, $1.50/lb.

I ended up with 3 bags of groceries for just $20. We dined on tofu curry, made with coconut milk and that piece of pumpkin. Mmmmm


paula said...

I could almost smell the place Jenn. I think it was the bit about slightly rotten produce (ahhh long ago memories of Runcorn market on a Saturday afternoon). Fascinating place though by the sounds of it but, as I'm about to eat my morning cereal I feel a tad queasy thinking about the poor decapitated duck heads (bless...). The tofu sounded lovely btw. XX

Lisa said...

Mmm. I love a coconut curry. Do they sell those whole barbequed ducks there? Yum!

Emily said...

You are so adventurous! I think it's great that you expose your kids to so many different foods. I just heard the other day about a couple kids that only eat PB&J and macaroni & cheese, and I thought, not my nieces and nephews!
Ew on the duck heads, tho.

Cousin Bevie said...

Very adventurous Jenn! That store sounds neato...though, I'm not big on the whole seafood thing anyway. It's really good that your interducing your kiddos to everything anyways.


Leigh-Ann said...

I love Asian grocery stores (we have lots of them here), but I don't like the live animal sections. I think I might have when I was a kid (and didn't think too much about stuff!), but ever since I saw turtles at one store I've had to avoid those aisles.

That said, we enjoy buying interesting beverages at Asian grocery stores (like, bubble milk tea in a can), and we also like Chinese pastries (red bean cakes, purple yam cakes, etc.).