So Many Kinds of Ramen


We walked in shyly, with some trepidation.

This. Is. Such. A. White. Thing. To. Do. she said. (I’d been telling her about the blog, Stuff White People Like, and it had become a running joke that day. As in: What are you doing? A crossword! That is just so white! )

Indeed, we could see a few other white people, ghost-like among the Asians, walking gingerly among the aisles of soya, tofu, dumplings, rice balls, and noodles. I. Never. Knew. There. Were. So. Many. Kinds. Of. Instant. Ramen. she whispered, her voice full of wonder.

I’d been to the T&T Asian supermarket in Vancouver, but Toronto’s version has a way better food hall, so that’s where we began.

I got all organized and efficient. You. Get. The. Sushi. I’ll. Get. The. Dim Sum. I said in my best white-person’s voice. It wasn’t easy to figure out how to order and the Chinese family behind me got served first. Still, I was pretty blissed out as we sat down to tofu skins stuffed with mushrooms, and perogy-shaped dumplings filled with chives. She had procured some eel sushi just for me and we shared the salmon maki rolls. The sushi is certainly not the strong point of the food hall’s offerings but it was fun to unwrap the individually wrapped items, like they were little pieces of candy.

It’s. Not. Over. Yet. I said as she stretched luxuriously and we gazed at the little patch of harbour visible from the counter where we sat. Now. We. Shop.

She swallowed back her reservations and we got to it, red shopping basket in hand. I had no idea what I was shopping for.

But that visit to T & T opened up every foodie pore on my skin. And it’s not like she was unaffected, either. I had lost her for a moment – I was walking hypnotically through the kilometre-long soba noodle section – and found her gazing at the fish counter like she was Born Again Catholic and we were finally at The Vatican. Doomed live fish swam moodily around a very long, floor level tank. Across the top of the tank was the fish counter: rows of sparkling, fresher-than-fresh salmon, halibut, tilapia, cod, sole…and oh, my, the seafood. I’ve never seen such beautiful pristine scallops.

I. Think. I’m. A bit. Over-stimulated. was all she said.

We took it easy after that. One quick tour through the produce section and we were done.

Here’s what ended up in that red basket:

Frozen chicken & mushroom won tons
Shitake mushrooms, deeply discounted
Uncooked Shanghai noodles
Baby spinach
Sugar snap peas
Orange juice

Any ideas? It’s all sitting in my fridge waiting for something to happen.

I’m in a new cooking phase of my life. I can feel it. I just don’t know what it is.

I’m only a foodie, not a professional cook or chef so I know this is a metaphor, too: for creativity and imagination, beating their wings, getting ready for that first, frail flight.

One Comment

  1. Haha I love that website “Stuff White People Like”. Your groceries look tasty…but unfortunately I don’t cook enough Asian food to give you some terrific recommendations. Let us know what you make!

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