A week or so ago, when I went to see Gi-gi, I also prioritized spending time with my oldest friend. That is, she’s not old (11 months, 2 weeks, 6 days younger than me, in fact), but holds the longest-consistent-friendship-with-moi among all of my friends. Her dad and my mom were friends in college, long before either of us was on the scene. When my parents divorced and my mom moved us back to her hometown, she reconnected with her friend, who by then was married with two kids (a daughter and son, each one year younger than my brother and I). There was a lot of dysfunction between our two families back then, but I’m blessed to know her not only as a friend with a lot of mutual history, but a sister in Christ as well.
In any case, we spent a lot of time (when I wasn’t dealing with van troubles) hunting the second hand shops and hanging out. I was in search of some Oolong tea, so we found an international market. We weren’t sure of it at first… Upon entering the store there was a fairly oppressive smell of urine. (!) However, I didn’t notice it after a while, and there had been a couple with a child (aged somewhere between 1 and 2?) by the entrance, so perhaps it could have been the child. They were of Indian or South Asian descent, and there are many refugees in the area. My heart went out to them, and I hope their transition goes smoothly… But I digress.
In addition to Oolong tea at great prices (probably because it’s cut with melamine and/or lead? hehe), it was almost like a carnival show. We’re so narrowly focused when it comes to food (as are most cultures, I suppose, based on what is abundant and affordable where they are), and there were so many things which I found to be incredibly fascinating (if not terribly appetizing).
What is this for, for instance?
Salted duck eggs. Is that a delicacy? A condiment? An easy packable protein source for play dates?
Duck eggs were on a shelf, but this can was in the cooler. “Milk Peanut with Soup.” What kind of soup is it with? I didn’t open it to look, but is it broth maybe? Maybe a closer translation is “Soupy Peanut Milk?” Another mystery (to me).
While I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them up close, I’ve certainly heard of frog legs. Are they skinless? I kindof expected them to be green and shiny. Is there a particular frog that is farm raised for its legs? I imagine so.
Now I assume this is probably a fairly normal staple the world round (after all, more humans drink goat’s milk than cow’s milk – goats subsist on much less, produce less, and their milk is more easily digestible than cow’s), but I’ve never seen it for sale in stores. There are people raising Boer goats around here, but I assume they sell to non-natives primarily (my friend who raises sheep usually sells the lambs to local muslims). I wonder if goat is like lamb, or mutton, or ?? I would eat it in a taco.
I didn’t get to see the product (I was trying to be somewhat surreptitious), but the sign on the cooler got my attention:
Dried shrimp skin? Isn’t that the part most people throw away? I thought maybe it meant shrimp with skin, but then… you wouldn’t have it dried, right? The meat and the skin would be drying differently and what a weird product to end up with. So maybe this is for a tonic, or it erases wrinkles, or is an aphrodisiac you can grind and sprinkle on your burger as seasoning..? Or! Maybe, like tamales wrapped in corn husks, you stuff them somehow.
This last one really takes the cake for weirdness, and the “What do you do with THAT?” factor:
It’s a dried squid! The whole thing! I think I can see it’s eyeball! I’m pretty sure it’s salted (the white on it?), and it’s hanging in a row of large bags like in which you’d find gummy bears. Only, it’s a gummy squid. Or a crunchy squid. Are there recipes for this? Do you rehydrate it for calamari? Soak it in warm water to create an instant soup base (with creature)? The tiny dried sardines could pass for salad croutons, but I don’t think even Hubby would want squid croutons. Crouton.
Have you ever eaten any of these things? Would you?