Tuesday, March 31, 2009

egg rolls and pig heads - Exploring Dallas

I LOVE to explore. Love it. Thrive on it. I might even say I need it.

So, after a full day of vegging out with Isaac on Saturday (which is what he loves to do), I felt so useless I almost felt sick, so after church on Sunday I took off to explore a new area of Dallas. Luckily, Isaac wasn't there so I didn't stress him out with my tendency to drive in the general direction of where I think I'm going but without any assurance that I'm right.

I was right! This Vietnamese area is actually just 10 minutes from my house, but I've never been there. Horrifying, isn't it? I LOVED it, and went back the very next day.

First I stopped at a little baguette and coffee shop called La Me for some Vietnamese coffee. I love it that Vietnamese food has the French influence with south-east Asian flavors. Amazing. La Me was adorable and I'm totally taking Isaac back next Sunday after church for some cheap sandwiches. I ordered an iced coffee this time and the owner asked me if I wanted it American or Vietnamese. I said Vietnamese, because I love their combination of strong espresso and sweetened condensed milk. It's powerful!

From Blogger Pictures

Next I wandered over to the Hong Kong Market, which still is heavy on Vietnamese food, despite the name. I love Asian stores. Yes, they sort of smell of... well... lots of things. Still, being surrounded by Asians makes me feel at home, even though half of the items are East Asian and therefore still unfamiliar to me.

Hong Kong market was actually pretty big and had a lot in it, including the famed smelly fruit durian....
From Blogger Pictures

....and a huge fresh fish and seafood section (with some pretty good prices too):
From Blogger Pictures

From Blogger Pictures

Sometimes there are full aisles full of things I've never heard of before (and don't have the guts to try), like this:
From Blogger Pictures

(vege smoked shark. What??)

And then, perhaps my favorite of all, which I didn't notice until I looked down at it just feet from my hand:
From Blogger Pictures
That is a pigs head. Two of them. Sitting in the meat cooler. In a plastic bag. What in heavens name do people do with pigs heads?

I actually was impressed with their selection and walked out with some Indo Mi (Indonesian ramen, which rocks), Vietnamese noodles, a big stash of longan (Asian fruit), some mochi (my first try!), some cookies that remind me of my childhood, and my adventuresome item - powdered almond soy milk. Lol... it's not bad, but I must admit that the entire time I drank my first glass I thought of the Chinese melamine scandal.

The next day, since Isaac was gone, I visited this place (Bistro B) and picked up a $5 dinner.

From 2009_03_30

My dinner of flavored sticky rice, legendary egg rolls (which were seriously amazing), and chili-spiced mango:

From 2009_03_30

I took my meal to the nearby community college that has a gorgeous campus, and did some reading and walking. It was GORGEOUS. It ended up being quite a time of thoughtful meditation, which I wrote about here

From 2009_03_30

From 2009_03_30

This beady-eyed bugger was determined to nab some of my dinner and tried even hopping up next to me on the bench. We were in an all-out battle of wills when he heard a female call and suddenly changed moods entirely. He puffed out his feathers, starting calling this beautiful song, and strutting around desperately. Have I mentioned that I love watching birds flirt? Seriously, try sitting and watching a group of birds in the spring. The male birds are hilarious.

From 2009_03_30

Did I mention that I LOVE exploring?


Melissa said...

yay mochi! what kind was it? was it the fresh kind or the kind in rectangles that you have to cook first? if it wasn't the fresh kind, perhaps with sweet beans in side, you should try that sometime and then you will have really tried mochi. =)

Kaycee said...

That is so cool. I wish we had places like this closer to where I live. There is one Vietnamese market place near my house, but it's extremely small and they don't have a lot of stuff.

Maybe I will try it again though.

Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom said...

Sounds like such a great day! I love your pictures, and your adventures... I wish I could have tagged along. :P

PS Don't tell him I told you this, but my boyfriend is the same about liking to veg, and I get SO RESTLESS. Understand where you're coming from on that one completely...

Daniel Peckham said...

I've enjoyed reading your posts about Papua. I always feel homesick going to Asian markets here in southern CA.

Just a minor correction - the fruit you identified as durian looks like jackfruit, though they do have some similarities.