Whenever I visit my folks, I am guaranteed a weekend of endless eating. Since I have been calorically deficient of late (not on purpose), my body was very thankful for this recent trip home.
Aside from the home cooking and good laughs, the highlight of these visits are adventures to the International Market to restock my Asian food supply. Oh, how I wish a market of this caliber existed closer to my current city.
I bring a cooler, several reusable grocery totes, and a large grocery tote with wheels so I can better haul stuff back with me. I never know when I’ll be able to go home again, so I really overdo it.
My uncle always takes samples, ignoring the large sign that clearly says No sampling. He sneaked a preserved plum in my hand. I panicked, looked around, and popped it in my mouth. What else could I do at that point?
Some big wins during this shopping adventure include:
– Cafe du Monde chicory coffee for $3.99 per tin. It was advertised as $4.99 but rang up less. I have never seen it so cheap! So I bought three, giddily clutching them in my greedy hands.
– 5 lb bag of peeled garlic cloves for $3.99 (split with Mom)
– English cucumbers, 2/$1.00
– Lettuces, 2 heads/$1.00
– Asparagus, 1 lb/$1.29
– Packs of grape tomatoes, 2/$1.00
Outrageous prices, right?
Then I stumbled across a bun shop. Stop. Everything.
Mom used to make salapao (as they are called in Laos/Thailand) all the time when I was a kid. It traditionally contains pork, clear vermicelli, a variety of shredded veggies, and a quarter of an egg. All steamed in a delicious bun. But since I don’t eat pork, I’ve had to find vegetarian alternatives.
The last time I ate vegetable salapao, it was from a 7-Eleven in Chiang Mai. I ate those things like they were going out of style. I would clean out one store and move on to the next (which isn’t hard, considering there are at least two on every block there). It was like noodles or sandwiches here in the States – if given the choice, I would choose 7-Eleven salapao over street vendor food 9 out of 10 times. That’s not to say street food isn’t amazing, but that’s another story.
Now that I have found a bun place in my state, why is it 4+ hours from me?? My mission in life is two-fold: 1) find a closer bun shop; 2) learn how to make buns.
In the meantime, DP and I shall feast for a week on nothing but Thai/Lao cuisine! As I write this, he just finished off 10 tofu spring rolls.