Mike wrote me a note . . .
“I have a question about the local oriental markets. I live in Uptown and recently stopped by the Shuang Hur market this weekend. Are the lobster’s and other seafood in the live tank good year-round? Is there any way to tell by looking at them if they are good or not? Or, would you just not recommend getting seafood or meat from these markets?”
Well Mike, the answer isn’t so easy. I buy seafood in these markets, including Shuang Hur, on occasion and have definite opinion. Although always a bargain in relation to conventional markets from a cost standpoint, the quality isn’t always there. I get live hard-shell blue crabs in season at Asian markets ( I like United Noodles best of all) when they are lively and in good condition; healthy, active crabs are good crabs. Lobster and Dungeness crabs I only buy if the water is crystal clear; the tank is clean; and the lobster and crabs are healthy, bright looking, and active, with little or no bite marks or shell damage. Shrimp (head-on mostly) need to be clean-smelling and have no signs of melanosis around the feathering of the tails. Dried shells and listless, dangling eyes on fresh shrimp are a sure sign of age. Fin fish should be clean and firm to the touch, with flesh that springs back when you touch it. Gills and blood lines should be red, and there should be no off “aromas.”
Many times these criteria are never met in any supermarket, and I feel just as satisfied when I shop in an Asian market for seafood as I do at Lunds or Byerly's, which is about half the time. Is it just me, or is the frozen fish thing just getting out of hand there? I shop these markets 99 percent of the time for my daily needs, and their meat and produce departments keep improving every year, but the seafood side of the equation almost seems in retrograde motion. I shop almost exclusively for seafood at Coastal, and the quality and satisfaction percentage is above 90 percent.
Check out this website. What do you think of this one bacon fans!? Speaking of bacon, I am officially saying enough already. Like wasabi before it and just like conventional AM and FM radio, which routinely plays a limited playlist so often that I get bored of songs before I even have a chance to grab it off iTunes, bacon has been so ‘done to death’ that I can barely enjoy it anymore. Everything has bacon on it these days. Enough already, let’s move on to something new!
Anyone looking to do some good works in disaster zones around the world should check out my pal Jon Ross’s website. He applies real-time fixes to families in need and could use your support. My family is getting involved, and so should you.
And check out the season premiere of Bizarre Foods tonight on the Travel Channel. I chow down with the Masai, so you shouldn’t miss this one.