Sunday, September 03, 2006

Searching for Steamers

After my dim sum dream from this morning I went out to scour suburbia for my needs.

  1. A decent Asian Market
  2. A kitchen store where I could buy a decent steamer for under $30.
It didn't seem so hard. This is California, after all. I found a decent Asian Market on my first try, only 20 minutes from my house, in an extremely dubious looking strip mall. But it had the right smell and a tremendous variety in the store, including a small fish counter. Very Nice!

I found two kinds of dried, shredded pork there (Tung Yang Pork Fu is the kind I got, the mild type, as opposed to Tung Yang Pork Sung, which has the same ingredients but is redder). Lots of veggies that I could identify, and 100 types of rice-based wrappers. The Bug picked some sticky glutinous raspberry sweet, which he didn't like.

On the search for sticky rice I found an employee lounging on 40-pound bags of rice. Feeling quite silly, I asked for the smallest bag of sticky rice possible. I think it was five pounds of "Sweet Thai Riz" and cost $3.50. The man laughed and asked if I knew how to cook it.

"Oh, I have a recipe," I answered, and then asked,"What do you recommend?"

"Cook for a long time, about 30 minutes, with a lot of water," he laughed.

They were all really sweet. The cashier asked, "What are you making?" and I told her I wasn't quite sure, since I didn't know what they would have.

Then, armed with some items, I knew I needed a better steamer. I would have liked a big bamboo one, even though I know they harbor bacteria, etc., but would have settled for something metal, as long as it had stackable levels.

I went up to the Vacaville Factory Outlet Stores. There are four kitchen-ware stores there: Le Creuset, Corningware, The Kitchen Store, and Le Gourmet Chef.

Since I was just looking for a stupid bamboo steamer, I went into The Kitchen Store first. I soon found out it had no steamers whatsoever, and mostly sold gadgets made by "The Good Chef" which are the worst pieces of crap ever. So we went over to the stupidly-named "Le Gourmet Chef" (I should have known).

A mish-mosh of ticky-tacky joke stuff (pig-lighters with flames coming out of their noses, fake french chefs holding chalkboards, etc.), and extremely expensive boxed items with "The Professional Series" or something along that line printed on them. Whether they were nice or not, I don't know. $30 for a tiny steamer insert that I can't unbox is too steep for me.

Did I mention the pretzel and mustard dip bar? Wasabi Horseradish Mustard dip and crap like that. They had more salsas and hot sauces with stupid names like "Queen of Farts" than they did cookware.

I finally found a set of two tiny bamboo steamers made by Joyce Chen. They were called "Cocktail Steamers" I think and would have held no more than two potstickers a piece. At $8 for two they were ridiculous. When I asked the sales clerks they got snotty and said, "We had fold out metal steamers but we don't any more."

Mental eye roll.

The Bug and I will MacGyver something together tomorrow. Tonight we made linguine (see earlier post).

I'm armed with all my fixins though. Pretty excited. Maybe Juiceboy will be home to photograph the results.

No comments: