|Lotus Seed Mooncake with Egg Yolk, photo by avlxyz|
Chinese culture being what it is, food is, of course, involved. Particularly mooncakes--rich, dense pastries boasting a variety of fillings, including lotus paste, red bean paste, taro, nuts and seeds, ham, and candied melon. Some also contain yolks of salted duck eggs for additional richness, though those are something of an acquired taste! Insanely caloric, mooncakes are traditionally cut into pieces, distributed among a gathering of family and friends, and consumed while watching the full moon. Quite a nice ritual as rituals go!
But that wasn't all the ranch market had to offer. Its fish department boasted a wide selection of sushi-grade seafood--almost odorless, I noticed, which is generally a good sign. Tanks filled with live tilapia, catfish, lobsters, and crabs provided further evidence of freshness. Customers jonesing for seafood had their choice of frozen, fresh . . .
. . . and very fresh!
Call me squeamish, but I prefer my fish to have stopped wriggling when I buy it! So I passed on the live crustaceans in favor of some dim sum, little Chinese dumplings with sweet or savory fillings.
No trip to the ranch market would be complete without a stop at Sam Woo's--the Chinese barbecue place a few doors down. Here you can find succulent spareribs and chashu (barbecued pork), golden soy-sauce chicken, roast duck, and even a side of roast pig, covered in rich brown crackling!
The moon festival might have been almost three weeks away, but why pass up the opportunity for a feast? Laden with groceries, including the all-important mooncakes, we headed back towards the west side, thrilled to have enough food to get us through the week.
So, now it lacks only twenty-four hours to make it official. Wishing all of you a happy, harmonious, and prosperous Mid-Autumn Festival! May the moon smile upon you!