Thursday, November 15, 2007

Back To Yaohan

Vancouver. We got in late the night before and wandered into Chinatown for grub. Ended up at a place called Number Nine Restaurant. Not only was the place open at one AM on a weekday, it was packed. We ate and amused ourselves by dubbing the Chinese soap opera that was on TV. Surprised we didn't get shot.
Next morning I headed out to find some foreign trouble. Got ahold of my first Canadian money. There are things in life that are weird, and one of them is money from other countries.


I wouldn't have said they were legendary. They took a while. I would say Good But Amazingly Tardy Noodle. I did get to see the cook make them, though, and that was neat. They swing a ball of dough around in both hands, folding and stretching it, until it is somehow noodles. I didn't see that part. Dumped some of what I thought was soy sauce in towards the end of the bowl. Looked awfully light to be soy, and tasted oddly familiar. Tried it gamely though. When the girl brought the check, I asked what it was in the bottle.
"Ah, vinegah!" she said. And thus ended my foray into Legendary Noodle.
Crossed the street and found a video store. If you've never done so, find an Asian video store and look around. Checking out the boxes is more fun than actually watching the movies. There was a concert on the wall TV, in which one guy, one girl, and one undetermined were singing Hall & Oates' 'Family Man,' but only the title was in English. Surreal.
Next door was a grocery store, and I stumbled in there. Asian food stores have a scent. It's right in the middle of ginger, raw meat, and mango. Enticing, but a constant reminder that I was the minority. Again, if you have the chance, hit one of these places. "Stik-O! MOCCA Flavor!" And actually buying something is like the culinary equivalent of a scratch-off lottery card.

This is what I got. Pocky is a sort of breadstick covered in dark chocolate. Awesome. That can in the middle is Hey Song Sarsparilla. It was root beer-esque. Kinda like drinking a foreigner's accented English. But now let's talk about White Rabbit. I'd had these before; a Chinese kid had given me some in fifth grade. I could describe it for you, but let's hear it straight from the manufacturer's website:

“WHITE RABBIT is one of the most famous brands of Guan Sheng Yuan (Group) Co.,ltd.and belongs to candy product. This product is very larruping that the candy’s surface swathe a very very thin velamen made from sticky rice and it can eat.People always are interesting in the sticky rice velamen.This product’s sales volume is very hot in USA(Kmart,Walgmart)."

... well, maybe I better describe it. It's about the consistency of a tootsie roll, but it's milk/cream flavored. And when you unwrap it, it's wrapped in a second layer of rice paper. Jimmy, the Chinese kid, had laughed at me when I tried to unwrap one again, and insisted that you ate them paper and all. I called shenanigans until I actually saw him eat one that way. It's flavorless, and vanishes like cotton candy in about ten seconds. You eat one, you don't like it, you eat another one and it's OK, and then you're a drooling fiend.
There are other flavors. Next time I go up there, I'm gonna try red bean. I hope it'll be very larruping.
On the way home, I saw a noteworthy warning sticker on an electrical transformer.

Apparently, Canadian electricity makes you do the Thriller dance instead of just killing you. I almost tried it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

WALG-mart??? L.M.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vinegar is the condiment of choice in BC. It's standard there on french fries (known in UK-speak as "chips"), where you find a bottle of vinegar right next to the ketchup. It does add a kind of dash. Right up there with WD-40 and duct tape as one of the neccessities of life. L.M.

7:16 AM  
Anonymous film_slave said...

Dearest Phil, You've just had a minor Asian Market experience. I went to Japan and shopped ALL of Tokyo by picture. At least I have been regularly going to Asian markets since high school (and boy howdy am I addicted to Pocky--also the brand Fraiche--especially the macha green tea flavor with chopped almonds! Oishii!). Also, restaurant experiences in about an adventure!

11:17 AM  

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