Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In Which The Bounty of Asia is Alternatively Rejoiced and Reviled

The interminable grey slog of post-Summer has finally arrived in Portland, which apparently triggers depression in some percentage of Portlanders who are not already chronically depressed. I look forward to this time of year, because the whole of outdoors converts to the cool, dank, basement-like environment I prefer. However, there are still lots of things to be powerfully depressed about, like the pathetic state of America and also this really shitty burrito I had at The Original Taco House on Powell's which totally sucked. $11 for a Burrito? FUCK YOU. Margarett paid for it, but it still affected me emotionally.

Anyways, whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth and involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. For me, you can't get any closer to the sea than Fu-bonn Asian Supermarket. Much like The Ocean, Fu-bonn is replete with dark mysteries both enticing and terrifying (Bull Pizzle for $1.49/lb). Also, both smell like rotting fish guts. In the same way rich liberal parents recommend a semester abroad, I think Fu-bonn is a great reminder that the world is a giant place, full of things you don't understand. A trip to Fu-bonn allows you to experience every human emotion, from childish snickering (Fu-bonn's next door BBQ restaurant is called SokOngDong...), to wide-eyed wonder (how many people need a sack of 60 duck hearts), to stark existential terror (those 60 duck hearts came from 60 ducks!!!).

On a recent trip, I purchased the cleaver in the background. I found it in a pile of 30 or 40 unwrapped cleavers, which someone had obviously poured out of a box onto a shelf. It weighs 1.5lbs and has no practical purpose for me and I had never wanted a kitchen item more. It had no price tag (because it was in a pile of unwrapped cleavers), so after the check-out clerk squinted at me for 30 seconds I suggested that it was $12, and now I have a giant cleaver. If only everything in Life was that easy.

The beverage section of Fu-Bonn is always an education. For the unfamiliar, 'Bird's Nest' is the euphemistic term for the salivary excretions of the Chinese swiftlet. White Fungus is some kind of jelly mushroom, which the wonderful people at Wonderfarm added to enhance the sensation that you are gagging down congealed mucus. It glugs out of the can as a viscous syrup, rich with mystery and also weird floating bits. The nose is a treacly sweet, unplaceable vanilla something or other. A closer inspection revealed the drink also contains the alarmingly named 'thickener 466', 'synthetic flavor', and 'synthetic sweeter 950'. Alarming to think that while American food scientists are struggling away with their 'natural flavors', the Vietnamese have cracked it, going straight to the source and manufacturing pure Flavor AND Sweetness. Also, based on how this tastes I shudder to imagine tasting synthetic sweeter 1 through 949.

Anyways, after a sip of this I desperately needed a drink, and also I had a whole open can of this.
Mystery At The Expense Of Health

1.5 oz Gin
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 oz Wonderfarm White Fungus Bird's Nest Drink

Shake all ingredients over ice. Serve to an unsuspecting girlfriend, then when she says 'ooooh, what is this?' cackle maniacally and produce the can of Wonderfarm White Fungus Bird's Nest Drink. Call her a philistine when she won't drink it and makes a martini instead. Moodily chop up a parsnip with your new cleaver while feeling unappreciated.

I additionally got a can of Foco's Aloe Vera Drink in the 'Muscat Flavor'. Despite the less esoteric ingredients, this was also a cloyingly sweet drink with viscous gobs floating in it. I liked it marginally more for the grape flavor, and marginally less because it didn't have any bird saliva in it.

This was supposed to be the same as above to highlight the difference in flavor between aloe vera and bird's nest, and the difference in gelatiniinity between white fungus and muscat grape, but I added an egg to this one because I was headed out the door right after and had skipped breakfast. I added soda also because it was distressingly thick.

More Viscosity Than I Required

1 Whole Egg (fresh)
1/2 Lemon
1.5 oz Gin
2 oz Foco Aloe Vera Drink Muscat Flavour

Soda Water to Fill

Take all ingredients and make into cocktail of some kind. Live Free Or Don't.

1 comment:

  1. Wait wait wait wait. You bought a kitchen cleaver for $12 that wasn't on sale? Also, a 30 second squint is quite a long squint. Were you squinting back? Eyebrow raised? Complete silence during the squint off? So many questions left unanswered.