Strange and Unusual Food Products of the Week: Part 2

IMG_6238In my second installment of Strange and Unusual Products of the Week I thought I’d share with you some of the things I came across on a recent shopping expedition in Chinatown.

Lets start with: Abalone-like.  Is that kind of like fake crab?  Mostly I’m just amazed that they don’t have to say what it actually is on the label.  Is there an Abalone shortage that we are now forced to buy Abalone-like?  😉    Or are they saying: You will like of Abalone and it’s just a misplaced descriptive? Either way…it made me scratch my head, as did the tin next to it on the shelf: Giant Top Shellfish?  Mmmmmmmmm……IMG_6240Anyone have any ideas?  This next one I just loved the packaging, it looks like something you’d find in the 1940’s all wrapped in brown paper and twine. If I drank Chrysanthemum tea this is for sure the brand I would buy if only for because I am a sucker for good packaging and I love the copy.  I mean who doesn’t need a good liver soother after a wild night out bar hopping?  Buy 2 give one as a gift.IMG_6253This next one is just a great combo platter of odd translation, I think the brand is Two Happy Swallows as in the birds but as printed it kind of sounds like, both of you will really want to swallow this.  IMG_6242 and you can swallow knowing that you will not be contaminated with RHODAMINE B (what ever that is). Lastly I thought I would leave you with this jar of: Preserved Grinded Snake-head Fish in brine.  I understand what they mean when they say grinded, but someone put next to snake head it starts to sound like a Harry Potter story or something…IMG_6245This concludes our second installment of Strange and Unusual Food Products of the Week.  Given the vastness of this topic I’d like to open it up to reader participation. If you see something while out shopping take and picture and send it to me!  I’ll include all reader submissions in my next post.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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2 Responses to Strange and Unusual Food Products of the Week: Part 2

  1. cbcreates says:

    Real abalone is really, really, really expensive. I had it in Hong Kong and loved it—huge ones that tasted kind of like velvety, unstringy scallop. The Abalone-like version is Limpets, a smaller cousin. A lot of stores stock up abalone near Chinese New Year feast time because the Chinese word for it sounds like guaranteed abundance!

    I bought a brick of Belacam when Saveur had it in their top 100 favorites one year. It’s compressed shrimp paste that’s made of fermented shrimp then the block is fermented again. Used in Malaysian foods. Words cannot begin to describe how stinky it is. I keep it in 3 zip locks.

    • urbanfoodguy says:

      Chris thank you for this oh wise one! I had no idea Abalone was so expensive and Chinese New Years is January 31st so I guess everyone is stocking up! So is Belacam with no RHODAMINE B good or one of those acquired tastes? We have to go to Asia together I think we would have a great time.

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