When I kept tropical fish I used to love shopping in Chinatown for their treats. The fish markets down there are off the hook weird. You can buy live frogs, dead squid, and dried-salted-just-about-anything. I liked watching the fish eat weird stuff. Sometimes I wouldn’t even buy anything, I’d just hang out and watch people pick out live food, or try to imagine what the heck a particular ingredient would be used for.
I happened to be close to Chinatown today while replacing my state ID card (which for reasons I don’t understand did not require ANY documentation to accomplish) so I stopped for some groceries. There’s usually an affordable selection of frozen dumplings and new flavors of instant noodle. I have fun trying random things with incomprehensible foreign packaging. Sometimes I find a real winner (toasted seaweed snacks, yay!) and sometimes not (abalone flavered raman, omg). Either way it’s an adventure and I hadn’t tried anything new for quite a while.
For dinner today I had braized eel and lotus seed paste dumplings. Both completely not what I expected. The eel was basically canned fish coated in some sort of (plum flavored?) high fructose corn syrup. Candied fish. Not what I was hoping for. For some reason I was picturing something more like kippered fish. Something salty. Seafood is salty. The syrup coating was not okay.
The lotus seed buns were also full of super-sweet candy filling. I had no idea what lotus seeds were, but in my imagination it was something closer to sweet and sour flavored. Or maybe more like poppy seeds or sesame seed paste. I’m not actually sure if these were supposed to be desert buns instead of real food, but where I come from seeds do not taste like frosting. These little things were like very disappointing seed-paste filled donuts.
I have plenty more in my frezer, unfortunately. Note to self: always buy very small quantities when trying out strange imported foods.