Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Double Dragon


The Internet is a great way for exploring cities. You can run a search of what you are interested in and the name of the city and usually come up with something. A GPS device takes it to the next level especially if you are a believer in Garmin brands which have millions of way points already stored in the device so you can search for them on the fly so to speak. However, neither of those devices will help you find something truly unique that only the locals know about.

Being married to someone of the Asian persuasion, we need to stock up on supplies that you just can't find in any supermarket here in the Midwest. Over the years, we have found little stores here and there across the state of Iowa and they do well but even they lack the variety that can usually only be found in a mega-city. So when my wife stumbled upon the Double Dragon in the urban jungle, she was in heaven. Only, she couldn't remember where it was when I came along.

So we drove through the neighborhood for a time and had given up when we decided to see what places around here were available to eat at. I searched through the Garmin way points, chose a likely place and away we went... on a route that took us right by the Double Dragon. We were too hungry to stop so I just touched the screen to set a custom way point and we now, for the life of our GPS anyway, have instant directions to the Double Dragon whenever we want.

By Asian store standards, the Double Dragon is huge. It is about twice the size of the largest Asian food store that I have had the pleasure of setting foot in. In one half, it is well stocked with all kinds of frozen and fresh sea foods and meats and in the other half, full of dry goods and vegetables. Throughout the stores narrow isles, hordes of small Asians rummage around for this and that and one tall gringo tries to keep tabs on his wife who is quickly slipping through the crowd with eyes just like a kid in a candy store.

Although you couldn't buy a steak or even hamburger, you could buy among other things in the meat section:

Pork Bungs and Chicken Feet

Pork Ears, Spleen, Stomach and other parts


Fish Heads

My wife can turn the fish heads into a delicious soup along with the chicken feet though I have only had the latter during one of my trips in the Philippines. I've eaten duck and it is quite tasty. However, I pass when given the opportunity to consume pork bungs, ears, spleens, livers, stomachs and other parts of the pig that aren't in chop or steak form. I always figure that I'm just doing my part in the world by eating those other parts of a pig that no self respecting Asian would consume.

Public Service Notice: No pigs, ducks or chickens were harmed in the making of this blog post. They were like that already when I found them.


Vince said...

I lived for many years in London where you could not get any of the Irish foods.
Politics dictated that I did not eat like the English, so I gravitated to the Asian.
Your wife can imagine my delight at finding an Asian food shop -well mostly Indian- in Clonmel last year.

R. Sherman said...

As a rule, I avoid filter organs from any species.


Ed said...

Vince - I have always seemed to gravitate towards ethnic foods long before I met my wife. My favorite is Mexican but Thai and Indian are close behind.

R. Sherman - Sounds like an excellent rule to me!

sage said...

I'm with you and Randall on those filtering organs. My mom loved liver and would fix it on occassion, but it was the one meal we didn't have to eat because my dad couldn't stand it. Liver and onions smells so heavenly and taste so crappy, in my opinion. But I'm glad your wife would a place where she can stock up on her food.

Ron said...

I can understand the practicality of eating those parts when one is raising/butchering the animal themselves... but...

Pork bungs? How about pork snot too while we are at it? Maybe some steamed pork bristle? :)

As long as there is plenty of other good food to eat, I think I'll mostly pass. I tried making head cheese and liver pate once, and they tasted ok... but I never quite got over the feeling that I should not be eating those parts... :)


Beau said...

Looks good to me! After spending so many years traversing Asia, I have many brain cells oriented to the enjoyment of many delicacies :)

malor said...

I know where it is. You coud've asked me. Anyway, we go there a lot. I love the assortment of herbs that are too expensive or not really accessible in a "normal" grocery store. You can buy cheaper shallots, mints, Thai basil and lemon grass. I am just not a fan of their frozen seafood. I am very picky when it comes to seafood. However, you can buy a whole pork belly there. And I love eating animal innards.

There is a Filipino store in Des Moines too. It's in Southridge Mall. If you don't know how to ge there, this is the direction: From University Avenue. Go East to East 14th. Go south in East 14th to Army Post Road. You'll see the mall once you hit Army Post Rd.

I work in homehealth in Des Moines area. I know I could use a GPS but I am too cheap. So, I rely on old fashion map. I don't know how long I could hold on not buying one...

Also, have you been in Gateway market? It is not an Asian Store but it is such a neat cafe and food store...

Murf said...

A few months back I was at a Japanese grocery store that had similar packaged items. Yuck. It'll all might be tasty when cooked and tossed with some herbs but I will pass.

Ed said...

Sage - Our food. I eat almost all but the filtered organs and love it. Chicken feet stew is excellent and I've grown quite fond of bone marrow soup as well. On the other note, my parents didn't like liver so I never had the experience. I've tried a taste or two when my wife eats liver but I still pass on it.

Ron - You bring up a good point on how psychology seems to play a large part in this. You see it so prevalent in young kids but it never quite leaves. I still haven't been able to bring myself to eat balut in the Philippines. Balut is a fertilized duck egg that they hard boil and then eat. I just can't mentally get past the partially developed feathers and such.

Beau - Except for a few things, one of which I mentioned in my response to Ron, I will try anything once. I've had tripe before along with other things most people pass up on.

Malor - We've been to the store at Southridge several times. We send off our balikbayan boxes there and sometimes pick up some Ube. However, the selection on other things is smaller than the store we have twenty miles from our house in SE Iowa. We also frequent Gateway Market and also A'Dong's Vietnamese restaurant a couple blocks east. They are both just down the hill a few blocks from our apartment.

Murf - As my mom always says, "That's fine because it leaves more of it for the rest of us."

Murf said...

You can have my morels too. ;-)

TC said...

Murf: I'll take your morels! Those things are a gift from God.

I couldn't prepare this stuff, and might be better off not knowing what it is until I eat it, but I'd probably try it.

The worst for me was blood sausage. Now that stuff's nasty.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

They have a market much like that south of Portland Oregon. My son (who was a Korean Language Major in college and who was teaching English in Korea when his oldest so was born), takes his family there (including the Eldest of us) every couple of months. My strongest memory is of the odor. I has some of seafood about it, but it is unique and rather pleasant.