ypsilanti has long been a stop on our way back from the u-pick joints on the west side of ann arbor. easier to visit than ann arbor and a lot less pretentious, it has a great c0-op that we often visit, as well as the lovely corner brewery.
i now have all the more reason to visit ypsilanti, as my good friend leah has just moved into a giant adams family looking house. she does not share it with a bunch of hippies or punks, looks like she is old enough to have her own apartment. we had a lovely brunch with her on new years day of roasted potatoes, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and capers, and baguette with lavender goat cheese and raspberry sauce.
afterword on a whim we went to check if one of my favorite markets was open as i needed some lotus root for nuka bran pickles (more on that in the next couple of days).
hua xing is located right on washtenaw ave. in ypsi and easy to find. it is by far the best grocery store in the area focusing on chinese specialty products, along with plenty of products from other cuisines. the produce section is full of all kinds of yummy goods, plenty of unusual greens like amaranth and water spinach. they also have the lotus root that i was looking for.
the shelves are full of products that for the most part i have no idea of how to prepare, what do you do with dried white fungus? how about dried jujubees? i’m going to have to get a more detailed chinese cook book that includes these. anyone with a recommendation let me know. i admit to being intimidated by the preserved vegetables, and as much as anything i think it’s the packaging that bothers me. most of it looks like it was produced in the 60’s and it worries me that the product inside has been on the shelf since this time. i’m going to just assume that chinese consumers aren’t nearly as concerned about slick packaging as americans. i went ahead and picked up a small packet of preserved mustard root.
some of the products are just a little humorous in the choice of names.
golden smell in particular has entertained me on several occasions. i’m just not sure that i want to smell a golden smell. note that it also has fragrant flavor. at first i thought it might just be the copywriter that was confused about fragrance and flavor, but looking up the phase on google revels that many have described something as having a fragrant flavor. is it that what they meant? or did they just forget a comma? i suppose that fragrance has a large impact on taste, and so the argument could be made for a fragrant flavor.
having a fancy dinner party? want to impress? look no further than…
yes if the boss is coming over nothing says you are high class like this package of dehydrated wheat gluten. when ever i look at these products i like to think of all the poorly translated products we are selling abroad and the entertainment it brings other cultures. it also makes me think of those kids in college that would get chinese characters tattooed on them thinking it meant something like peace or strength and then found out it meant turnip or something like that.
beyond the row after row of spices, sauces and dried good goods is also the poor man’s aquarium to visit.
if you can’t tell, and it seems like it would be difficult, this is a soft shell turtle in a mesh bag. i felt sorry for it, as i’m a great lover of turtles i wanted to buy it and set it free. usually they at least keep the turtles in water which seems much nicer. i’ve felt the same sort of urge to buy up all the frogs and set them free, but the only thing i can see this doing is raising demand.
in addition to the fish there are also eels, frogs, crabs and lobsters to look at. none of them look all that happy, but how would you feel if you were destined for dinner? while staring at the fish a couple of gentleman selected a fish which was dipped out of the tank with a net, set on the tile floor and then hit on the head with a board to stun or kill it. good thing the health department wasn’t around, but it certainly didn’t seem to bother the customers.