That's tripe right there in the middle -- or stomach -- and I took one bite and politely swallowed it, holding my nose in my mind, which didn't really work. I think I might have then said, again politely (raised in the south), I don't really care for it, but it's interesting. Don't tell Dr. Jin. I'm a bit of a squeamish eater.
It's a terrible photo, but this was my favorite dish: grilled taro root. It tasted sort of like mashed potatoes but had a better consistency and more flavor.
The herb stores were fascinating. I'd been in similar ones in San Francisco's Chinatown -- and if you've never experienced the heady odor of the stores, you should. There are bins and bins of the strangest substances, roots and herbs and bones and bugs and skeletons of sea creatures. In the this photo, the black Brillo-stuff was some sort of seaweed used in teas for medical purposes.
This herb store had the most pungent smell and the coolest displays, but Dr. Jin maintained it was too much money. When we went into another one, there were huge mushrooms in glass apothecary jars that were $580/lb.
This is a giant black mushroom. When I asked Dr. Jin what it was for, she said, Cancer.
I was amused by the grocery store aisle signs and snapped this photo to show Oliver. Imagine a whole aisle of gummy candies!
Again, I'm a squeamish eater. These poor quail looked like they'd been plucked and fried into oblivion or some kind of prehensile state.
Why is it that anything named something ball is hilarious?
You know how everything is labeled Made in China? Well, this row of food was labelled Made in Mexico.
The grocery, just like the restaurant, was entirely Chinese. I didn't see a single black, white or Hispanic person in there, a rare thing in the City of Angels. There were rows and rows of giant rice bags and bizarre produce. I find it fascinating that people of certain cultures congregate and live their entire lives in a microcosm of their native country. I feel privileged to live in such a vibrant city with so much variety, but I wonder why we still live in a sort of tribal way.
In the meat department, Dr. Jin bought a bag of tendons. She told me that she boiled them and made soup, that it would help her to run in the marathon in two weeks. Did I tell you that Dr. Jin came in first in her age group in the LA Marathon last year? She's 58 and runs, I believe a 3 hour marathon, or something outrageous like that. She came in 17th overall of the women. Over lunch she told fascinating stories of her young life in China -- she's from the northern, cold part near Mongolia, (and her parents marched with Mao) -- where she was a star triathlete and ran in international contests with her then-husband. Her first husband was a Chinese hero and the first Chinese man to reach the peak of Everest solo. He died on the descent. And now she's sitting in a Chinese dim sum palace with one of her patients in Monterey Park, Los Angeles. You can't make that shit up, right?
I love Dr. Jin and am so grateful for everything she does for me, even though she made me eat a bite of stomach lining.