Sunday, May 15, 2011

More Boston food adventures! We actually were not planning on any adventures at all this weekend, but we had to make an errand to Radio Shack, and pan-Asian supermarket Super 88 was on the way.

As we got off the bus, we realized there was a Turkish market at the same bus stop as Super 88, so we hopped in there first, just out of curiosity, and wound up with Turkish sodas and cookies, pistachio halvah, carnelian cherry jam, and green "cherry plums." This was an odd bit of synchrony: I happen be reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog (on loan from Caitlin), which mentions cherry plums several times, and since they're a member of my favorite non-citrus fruit family, I had of course looked them up; and just last week I read that linked article in the LA Times about Californian cherry plums currently being available. The guy at the register was curious about whether we were familiar with them, and said we'd lucked out - they're only available in May.

They're crisp and very tart, and I haven't quite figured out what to do with them yet.

Lunch was at the Super 88 food court - we split an amazing grilled pork bahn mi ($3.75, a crazy bargain: a baguette with grilled pork, spicy mayo, cilantro, pickled carrot and cucumber and some other pickled vegetable but I'm not sure what - lacked the pate I'm used to on bahn mi but was still amazing) and a few dim sum dishes (pigs feet braised with spicy bean sauce, Chinese sausage buns, steamed meat and vegetable buns, and sesame balls with lotus paste, which are my favorite dim sum item), and each had a bubble tea (coconut-pineapple for her, sesame milk tea for me).

So already, this Radio Shack errand has worked out pretty well food-wise.

We were worried about getting too much heavy stuff shopping in Super 88 - getting home from Bazaar had been crazy, and the Turkish bag was already pretty heavy - so decided to avoid canned/bottled things and meat, but I was impressed by the meat selection I saw. Aged chickens priced appropriately, for instance (under $3), and pork hearts, and goat bones. Not a lot of duck selection - I might've made an exception for some quality duck parts.

What they did have was sesame paste. Sesame paste! Regular and black. This should not be such a big deal, except that it had proven impossible to find at any of the Korean stores we've checked, as well as on the internet.

And I couldn't pass on the fruit. Fresh dragon fruit, the largest star fruit I'd ever seen (the size of a pineapple - unfortunately it tasted off when we cut it up), a nice mild melon, and Kyoho grapes. I had no idea what to expect of Kyoho grapes and had only previously seen them on the internet, where I'd've had to spend $100 or so on an order of them. These were $1.69 a pound. We spent three bucks on them. They were amazing - I was expecting a slip-skin variety with a thickish skin, like fox grapes or Concords, and indeed Wikipedia tells me I was right to do so, that that's the grape's heritage. But the skin was actually very soft. The flavor's neither like Concord nor like Thompson Seedless or other supermarket standards. I'm not quite sure how to describe it, actually, though it's still recognizably grape - but it's delicious, and incredibly juicy, and man I wish I could buy them every week.

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