Sunday, July 11, 2010

Adventures at 99 Ranch

Shopping at 99 Ranch isn't for the faint of heart. It's a crowded Asian grocery store chain with great deals on produce and seafood, and an interesting assortment of Asian food products. Personally, I love shopping there. They have live Maine lobsters for $6.99 a pound, and pre-made dim sum that can be as good as what you find in a restaurant for a fraction of the price.

Last weekend I picked up some steamed turnip cake. I got a 1 lb brick of it for $3 - and I sliced it and fried it up in some peanut oil. Delicious, and at a fraction of the $4 charge for a few small pieces.

I also picked up some lobsters and clams for a clambake in the seafood department. It's a little smellier than most grocery store seafood places, but it's fascinating to watch workers scoop live fish from a tank to present to a customer, and then see that same live fish thrown onto a table, beaten over the head with a mallet, and then cleaned and filleted for the customer on the spot. While somewhat unsettling, it's a fascinating show - and at least you know the fish is fresh.

I can't wait to try out the karaoke place next door with some friends. Private rooms so you can scream your heart out in private. I feel "Living on a Prayer" is in my future.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Kelp Noodles

I was shopping at Berkeley Bowl a few weeks ago and in the Asian refrigerated section I saw this bag of kelp noodles. They looked like cellophane noodles, but had only 18 calories in the entire package! I love finding low cal foods that actually taste good (and as I'm sure you know, that can be difficult) - so I popped them in my cart.

I decided to make a Chinese cellophane noodle dish, using the kelp noodles as a substitute. I tried one straight out of the package, and they were snappy in texture but pretty non-descript. The package said "neutral taste" - and they were right.

After throwing them in with the sauce, they became soft like a regular noodle - and the result was tasty!

Although my picture of the finished product doesn't do them justice - I'll be experimenting with these again!