Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Where to get your Asian grocery fix in Marin. Asian Market is the place, located in San Rafael near both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, hidden away behind Peet's Coffee. I had stopped at Jo-Ann's this afternoon to pick up some items she'd picked up for me at Costco (isn't it fun to have girlfriends where you call each other from inside favorite stores and say "Hi, I'm at "fill-in-the-blank", is there anything I can pick up for you?"). I asked her if she knew of anywhere I could get inari skins since I was loathe to go all the way to Japantown in San Francisco just for these. But one of my to-bring items for Thanksgiving at Linda's had morphed from 'green salad' to 'muchies' so I wanted to bring something a little unusual - barazushi-stuffed inari, hence the search for the skins. Jo-Ann flipped to the Asian Market in the phone book so fast and handed me the phone that it was dizzying, or was it that new diet I started on Sunday? (That will be revealed in another post... it's a doozey) So I quickly called and confirmed that indeed there were inari skins at the store.
So on the way back from Jo-Ann's I stopped in, and of course, filled my basket with things in addition to the inari-skins. It's nice to have a cross-section of Asian goods locally, even fresh items. The woman at the counter asked if I was the one that called about the skins -- good memory, and friendly. One of the things I spotted was this sesame cookie -- rather large at about 8" in diameter. Thought it would be a nice sweet snack for Dad & I. We had it while watching a movie Tuesday evening - it's like fruit leather, but just lots of sesame seeds held together by something sweet. I also tried my latest toy out for this photo. Since it's getting dark so soon, I invested in a little portable 'lighting studio' so I can take better photos of some of my home creations, or products such as this.
One last bit of flavor, as I started out the door of the Asian Market, I spied some rather large eggs in a flat near the door. I asked "What kind of eggs are these?". "Duck eggs", was the response, and to my "Ooooh", she quickly responded, "but these are not for you -- they contain baby ducks, a delicacy". "Baby ducks? You mean, you boil these like an egg, crack it and eat a baby duck inside?". "Yes, but these are not for you." , she warned. Yeah, I've had some 'challenging' food items before, and I don't think I would go out of my way to try this. She confirmed that these are popular in most Asian cultures. Google is great, I quickly found out these are called "Balut", and found a good write-up at Wikipedia.