Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Thing Red Beans Are Not Good In

This last time in Vancouver, I started out with a plan. We stay in two hotels there. One is next to Yaohan, the big Chinese market, and the other is in the middle of larger and sprawling Chinatown. This time, I was gonna connect the two in my head on a walking tour. Armed with a vague sense of direction and some shoes, I headed out. I missed Yaohan by about six miles on the way forward, but I did catch sight of one of those big glass apartment buildings I remembered from Chinatown in the distance, and so set a course for them. By the time I was close to the building, I started recognizing stuff. And one of the places was the Asian grocery store I'd gotten that White Rabbit candy from last time. I seem to remember making a threat right here on this very blog to try the red bean flavor next time I was in Vancouver, and so I grabbed some along with my Pocky. For those of you who thought I was kidding about red bean flavored candy, I wasn't:

They're not good. I'd rather eat these than say, an eyeball, but damn are they not good. The red bean in question here is not some mystical and foreign bean that grows in China and tastes good sweet. It's our good old Cajun red bean, the same one you put in red beans and rice. This stuff is the equivalent of broccoli-flavored ice cream.

But speaking of ice cream... I did find something called mochi. I'd eaten some of this stuff before, but the Asian store in SLC doesn't carry it, so I jumped on it. Mochi is an ice-cream filled rice cake, and as weird as that sounds, it's ever weirder than that. Imagine biting into a ball of raw dough and striking ice cream. Mochi. There's vanilla, strawberry, green tea, and mango flavors, and despite my description, they're great. You can probably get them as dessert at a sushi place; those of you who are raw fish-compatible should definitely look 'em up.
There's non-ice cream mochi, the ice cream having been replaced with flavored bean curd. Not sure about those.
Also hit that Asian video store again, and this time bought an Japanese DVD. Figured they'd have subtitles, and I was right... they're just in Chinese. Doesn't matter though... it's an hour of giant robots killing other giant robots. That's the international language.
Found Yaohan on the way back. Was right where I left it.


Blogger ./dave said...

Trader Joe's is also an excellent source of Mochi's. It's damn good.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

When will mankind learn to throw away our bigotry and hate and accept that we are one global village destined to beat each other to death in 15-meter multi-colored mobile suits?

11:43 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

./dave: Thanks for the info! The only reason I haven't blasted out to get some of that yet is that there are none of those things in Utah! WOE!
Nick: At most, there are four of us on a crew. I've always wished there could be five, so that eventually I could go out on a crew comprised of the scrappy yet naive blond guy, the dark haired cool and dangerous guy, the princess, the oaf, and the twins.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Besides, your hate makes you powerful.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you be the oaf?

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, "mochi" is technically just that glutinous rice stuff, so what you had was mochi-wrapped ice cream. As you've seen, it's also used to wrap other stuff, and it's even made into vaguely pasta-like shapes and put in dishes. (There's a Korean dish with these called "toppoki" you really should try; come to think of it, toppoki, except for the mochi, is probably the Korean equivalent of some dish I don't know the name of from Louisiana.)

It's fun watching them make mochi at the festivals here in Japan. Basically, they get a big tree stump with a hollow in the top, and two guys, one with a large mallet. One guy throws a bunch of rice in the hollow, and then the other whacks it with the mallet. The first guy then sticks his hands in there, mixes the rice-turning-into-mochi around a bit, and pulls them out just barely before the other guy whacks it all with the huge mallet again. They do this over and over, at a pretty fair rate of speed (about as fast as you'd chop a tree with an axe) for five or ten minutes, and then they start again with more rice.

It always makes me nervous watching this for some reason.

10:34 PM  

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