Weekend Provisioning

February 1, 2010

Wall o' Ramen

Saturday was devoted to restocking the Belm Utility Research Kitchen and Deep Storage Facility. First stop was the monthly pickup for the meat CSA, which entailed my standing at the end of a very long line in the sub-zero cold, watching Cambervillians dashing into and out of their Prius Zipcras. (Note to the first person in the line: When there are twenty or more freezing customers behind you, consider postponing your questions about the provenance of the organic feed used for the chickens until you are home and online.) This pickup was more about quantity than variety: another perfect chicken (soon to be roasted), four pork chops, ground pork, a hefty lamb shank, and a smoked ham shank which has already surrendered its bone and skin to tonight’s red beans and rice.

From Cambridge I ventured to the wilds of Burlington to visit H Mart, the newly-opened Korean superstore, with She Who Must Be Obeyed and He Who Will Not Be Ignored in tow. I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming quantity and variety of food available there. I shopped judiciously, thankful that the half-hour trip and on-site parking that has been raised to the level of a contact sport conspire to prevent me from emptying the contents of my wallet there every week.

We investigated every aisle, with me making a mental inventory of what was available for future reference. There were sample stations set up everywhere, offering everything from grilled short ribs to dumplings to curry to steamed pork buns, all in the hope of encouraging impulse purchases. I managed to take some photos of some of the walls of products, including the wall o’ ramen at the top of this post.

Case lots of preserved duck eggs. I'm told if you can get past the ammonia smell that they're quite tasty.

One of three refrigerator cases full of nothing but kimchi.

Half of a wall ful of different fresh snacks, ordered by category: "pickled," "salted," "seafood," etc.

Pig parts. Need I say more?

Part of the wall of crunchy snacks, including barbecue Cheetos unique to the Korean market

I managed to escape relatively unscathed, filling up a few bags with pork belly, barbecue-marinated sliced ribeye steak, king oyster mushrooms, mandarin oranges, various flavors of Ramune soda, and a bamboo steamer. There was a strategically located Tous Les Jours bakery near the exit (not unlike the IKEA cinnamon bun strange attractor) where we satisfied our cravings for read bean and sweet rice doughnuts.

Super 88 may still be the best food court in Boston, but the supermarket itself has fallen on hard times due to bankruptcy proceedings. When I’m not shopping at my friendly neighborhood Reliable Market, I’ll make the journey to H Mart. Just not on a weekend.

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