tonight, since there were no fancy endeavors planned for dinner, Jacques and i headed out to the mall. the taxi dropped us off at what appeared to be a supermarket at the far end of the big new japanese shopping complex. the market was actually rather familiar after my usual grocery trips to the asian markets at home: same stuff, just more of it and a better variety. most of the produce was recognizable as the same as at home, with the addition of my favorite little appley things and the legendarily heinous durian. there were 2 whole aisles of sweet snacks, with a pretty extensive gum selection, including a canister labeled with a rose. having found (and loved) floral gum only only once in any store at home, i snapped up 2 of them and am hoping for the best. little did i know, but china apparently has a fairly active wine industry.
no, i didn’t get any (though the price only translates to about $6), since i figured the last thing i needed was bad red wine sloshing all over my other souvenirs on the plane home. we left the market to roam the rest of the mall and shortly spotted the chinese version of a best buy. like the grocery store, it was mostly familiar (tvs, cameras) with some additions. Jacques’ fascination with the remote controlled $1000 toilets:
caused a sales clerk to hurry on over, though of course that won’t go too well in his suitcase either.
the rest of the mall was exactly what you’d expect a mall to be: clothes, toys, home goods. the only surprise was that the 2nd floor of the grocery store was a moderately upscale department store, so sort of a combo safeway + macy’s all in one. at a home furnishing place i picked up a lovely silver business card case on super discount, and then we headed off to the food court to pick up some dinner. we passed by the kfc (grinning colonels next to pics of not-quite-homestyle kfc were kinda surreal), though Jacques contemplated taking home some fries afterwards. we haven’t yet felt the need to get some american style food, but we’ve branched out from solely chinese by hitting the hotel’s japanese restaurant last night, and the korean bbq tonight.
there’s a quite good korean restaurant near home, where the burners are built into the table and there are huge viking vents above. this one had a small pit sunk down into the marble table top and a tiny steel vent in an arm nearby. they brought out a large black iron box and pulled out a cast-iron bucket full of glowing red ceramic coals which fit down into the table. grill covers were traded out in between courses, with a more solid one for the chicken and a wire mesh one for the beef. it was just as good (if not better than) the one at home, but with a far more extensive menu. and about 1/4 the price.
hmm, now that i think about it, maybe i should have gotten that sketchy wine…