Thursday, November 23, 2006

I'm thankful for...

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I am very thankful for my in-laws, particularly because they had the boys sleep over last night. Wahoo! DH, my dear husband, and I went for dinner at the Super H Mart. This pan Asian mega mart continues to amaze me. In fact, I might start referring to DH as SDH, or Super DH, in order to speak of two things I love at once.

A friend of mine joked that Super H (the store, not the husband) should have "whitey patrol," that is, dedicate some of their Korean workers to help and explain things to confused Caucasians such as yours truly.

For example, although we were able to figure out from the ingredient list that Squid Ink Bread really does contain squid ink, it would have been helpful to have a patroller describe the flavor the ink imparts.

The patroller could have advised us that Octopus is a taste best acquired as a young child and warned us not to waste our money on the artificially flavored Octopus chips. Who knew? Smartypants was so taken by the packaging we bought it (on an earlier trip). After the first one he said it tasted like calamari; after the second, he'd had enough. DH stopped at one chip. I spat mine out after only a bite, and dear Splinter said it tasted like a fart.

Turns out though, that many friendly folks naturally take on the patroller role. After eating our dumplings and udon soup, DH and I eyed a nearby diner eating a delicious looking pancake-type meal. "Seafood pancake," he explained and told us where to get it.

Then a store worker sat down in our group of tightly spaced tables and our helpful neighbor asked her what she was eating. She explained and then even offered him a taste.

Later, when DH and I were exploring the massive produce section a kindly woman saw us puzzling over the durian fruit. It's like a 5-pound pine cone. It's got a hard, rough, spiky exterior. "Oh, I've heard of this! It's the stinky fruit," I said. (Click here for a great explanation and photo.)

"It's really very sweet," said the helpful woman. She explained how to cut its thick skin open and how to eat it. We decided to hold off on our purchase of durian for now. But we generally like to buy all kinds of new fruits. Sometimes we actually eat them, other times we just watch them rot-in the name of science, of course. For example, you may know that an orange left out for too many days will mold, but did you know that a lychee just gets really, really hard?

When we got home we checked our handy dandy Visual Food Encyclopedia to read up on durian fruit, burdock and some of the other foods we saw at Super H. (The VFE is a great reference would make a great present for the foodie on your list.)

The SH was a hit with DH. Now it's time to find some tasty recipes, lemongrass soup perhaps, and make a list before our next trip to the Super H.

Off to sleep I go with dreams of cuttlefish dancing in my head.

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