Asian Grandma makes weekly trips to Tin Tin Oriental market, Ranch 99, and other Asian grocers. If you've never shopped at these ethnic markets, you know the smell alone tells you good food requires real ingredients and real ingredients don't come deodorized. They come live, with tails and eyes, and swimming in crowded tanks or chopped up on ice in open butcher counters.
And the smell from those ingredients mixed with smells from the bottled sauces and spices of dozens of Asian nations all crammed onto the same shelves can create a Nostrilpalooza, complete with hallucinations and subsequent vomiting for the lighthearted. Which reminds me of the time my little cousin was walking down an aisle when she was 8 and just totally barfed up red-orange gobs of xi muoi slime out of NOWHERE. We had given her some of the salted prune snacks and the 4000 milligrams of sodium overloaded her little system. Oops. Maybe kids shouldn't have 4 salted prunes right after drinking a milky pearl boba tea. She was just walking along and suddenly yakked all over her shoes. Classic kid vomit--up and out. Which made The Good Doctor gag--because he gags whenever something is the slightest bit gross. Which is why being an anesthesiologist who is in surgery all day makes perfect sense as a career. It wasn't pretty but we rinsed off her Converse and marched onward. We haven't offered her a xi muoi in 5 years.
Anyway, Asian Grandma navigates the Asian groceries like a ninja, collecting the essentials of a Viet kitchen: rice, garlic, onions, nuoc mam, bean sprouts, tofu, tropical fruit, and various green vegetables represented by Chinese characters, all of which add up to 7 plastic non eco-friendly bags full of food, that always surprise you when the final bill tallies up and it's like $17.42. Whereas a trip to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or Safeway, even with our "Club Card," is like minimum $50. For some pomegranate juice and fruit leathers and frozen chicken tikka masala. Yuppy organic food prices are really outrageous these days.
But we always just wonder just a little about the food from the Asian grocers. How can chicken drumsticks cost just .19 a pound? Is it because they come from headless Asian chickens made of 18 legs?
And then we have this: a pineapple with an oddly disproportionate top. Does this not look like a fruit from a video game? A 90's era Nintendo game where you would jump and bonk your head on it and gold coins would come tumbling down making bwip bwip bwip sounds. But just like the drumsticks, it was delicious. And no one has yakked onto anyone's shoes.