I will eat sushi every day!!
One of the aspects of travel and living abroad that I LOVE is rummaging around foreign (to me) grocery stores! As a former Chef, I still love looking at ingredients and food stuffs; I find what non-American cultures eat incredibly interesting, amazing, and not uncommonly completely unknown and new to me! It's so fun!
That said, I spent yesterday (literally, 4 hours) in Ito Yokado, our local Japanese supermarket chain. And it was definitely super! Three floors of overwhelming super-ness!
...After wending my way through the store two nights ago after the movie, getting lost, and finally having a store clerk walk me to the exit (!), I was determined to return and conquer Ito! Fighting! (Don't have Hangul keyboard so I can't translate that properly.) Ito is connected to a multi-story mall that contains the cinema where me and a group of new friends went to see Black Panther Friday night. I was sure I could follow P.'s simple directions to exit the mall and walk through Ito to the street that would lead me home, a short two blocks away. I was wrong! It took me a while to navigate the mall's escalators, which were nowhere near eachother going down or up! Then, I became confused by the entrance of Ito (a separate entrance on every level), because I couldn't see the "grocery" floor, and knew that floor led me to the street. So, up and down, down and up, around and around...finally! Found the grocery level, but could not find the damn exit. It was amusing at first, but then, I just wanted to go home after a long week! This wonderful clerk who spoke a bit of English escorted me personally to the exit and I walked home, relieved, exasperated, and feeling like a bit of a dolt! Next time, I will allow my friends to walk me exactly where I need to go until I am truly familiar with my surroundings. Perhaps being too independent is not a strength in all situations. I am so used to doing everything on my own that I do notice my tendentiousness (sorry, that's one of my fav words LOL! Have to use it when I can!)...
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What a fantastic store! And I only fully explored the first floor of groceries! There are multiple floors with housewares, furniture, clothing, and more! I liked it much better than Metro, which I had visited earlier in the week. It is not solely Japanese-style cuisine, but it had many Japanese products and prepared foods...like...SUSHI !!!! nomnomnomnom! OMG! I can eat sushi everyfreakinday here! Not only is Ito 2 blocks from my flat, they have a huge selection of sushi that is so inexpensive I was laughing and jumping up and down--trying to be discreet, but not really! It's like EMart in Korea, but BETTER! The selection is HUGE, and PRETTY, and so INEXPENSIVE!!! Peeps, like a tray of sushie for two people is $7US!!! I am thrilled! I will get fresh fish (good for my body!) and rice (I love it!) every day for dinner until I am sick of it, LOL. I will still eat Chinese cuisine, of course, but I am envisioning riding the rental bike to and from school, and on the way back--stopping at Ito for dinner! Wheee!
Sushi for me! Sushi for me! Sushi for me!!! I love it!!
Ito offers food sampling as well, so I was able to taste many of their prepared dish offerings! Whew! Spicy! A few times I coughed from the heat! But the flavour is very, very good: this Sichuan style of taste! I love it! At one point, I tried a morsel of something in the meat department--I had no idea what it was, you know me: I am fearless LOL-- then I inspected the pan containing the entire dish. It contained a hundred chicken feet! Wow! I had no idea chicken feet were soft (when cooked) and boneless. The mouth-feel was slightly rubbery, almost like squid or calamari, and the flavor was fine; the main taste was the spice and herbs used in preparation. It was pretty good; still a little off-putting because this is definitely not a dish I was raised eating, but not gross or foul-tasting in any way. In fact, among the food vendors at street-level in my complex, there are several who purvey these prepared "delicacies" along with many other meat items unknown to me. I will eventually try them, though I still prefer to eat meatless except occasionally.
Check out the photos of this enlightening and fun experience... all this cool food I've never seen before!
And lastly, I managed to get home in the mini-red-motor-car-thingies. I was trying to get my groceries delivered because I had so many, but the language barrier stopped that. And of course, I have no wifi out on the street, so I coudn't call the Chinese version of Uber, which is named Didi (I call it Dudu because that's just more fun!). Wonderful Chinese people to the rescue!!! A group of people were outside store handing out fliers for something or another, and helped me hail the mini-reds (I'll learn the name soon enough). These are cheaper than both taxis and Dudus (heeheehee). After catching one, the group helped me put my four big bags of groceries in the mini-red. It cost 8rmb!!! (Remember, 100rmb=$15US) That's like $1.60, Peeps!!!!! As I lugged my bags toward the gate, I motioned to the guards for a cart, but they declined to get one and one of them carried my groceries for me! Not just to the elevator, where I signaled I was fine to go from there--he insisted on accompanying me all the way up to my 18th floor flat and delivering the bags right in front of my door! So, so...wow! I have had so much help that it's shocking! I am not used to people being so polite and kind and helpful!!! Especially strangers! It's a rare experience anymore in the US!
Happy! Happy! Happy!
Grateful! Grateful! Grateful!
I LOVE CHENGDU!!!
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...gallivanted across Paris, I have made it to Chengdu! As of 2021, I am headed back to China, this time to Shanghai!