Much More Than A Metro System

There are plenty of things I’d expect in a subway tunnel. Magazine stand. Check. Maybe a food vendor. Sure. An entire shopping mall in between two subways stops? Well, I guess I’ll let it slide seeing as there isn’t that much space. But having the entrance to a grocery store right by the exit of a subway? A bit strange, no? I’ll take it nonetheless.

For the past two weeks, I have been eating out almost every meal. It’s not as bad as it sounds – I can eat out for dinner (well, mind you) for about five dollars. Lunch? Two dollars.  Breakfast? Provided by my work (since it’s such a crazy schedule right now).  But when I eat out for every meal, there isn’t that same connection with my food. I don’t feel like its mine as much.

Because I didn’t handle it, because I didn’t manipulate it, because I didn’t create the dish, I feel like I’m missing something. I also think, on a day-to-day basis, I’m missing something. It’s not the running or yoga or interactions with people (all of which I do on a daily basis), it’s the cooking.

So today I set out to the grocery store located in the subway station (Grand Mart) to pick up a few ingredients to cook up. The biggest problem when I was there wasn’t the language barrier, or the stares I got when walking around the produce section, but the fact that I don’t know many of these ingredients.

I mean I’ve spent my fair share of time in grocery stores back in the states, but I didn’t ever go hang out in the Asian markets (except for Win-Lee’s Oriental Market, and that was because that was the only place for miles that sold a dessert that I was obsessed with for about six months after having it once at the Thai restaurant I used to work at). So these leafy greens, and strange circular root vegetables and packages upon packages of tofu leave me wondering what I should cook.

I ponder: I could just grab a few ingredients, and throw them into a sautee pan and hope for the best. But what about the seasoning? Maybe I’ll just grab some bottled sauce from the shelf and hope it’s soy sauce? Maybe I should just buy a bundle of garlic being sold by an agashi off the back of the truck outside of my apartment. Maybe I should add some rice or noodles or kimchi?

What it came down to was: pumpkin sautéed up with tofu, zucchini, bean sprouts, garlic, and a Napa Cabbage (before the cabbage scare of 2010).

Not to toot my own horn, but I think my first cooking endeavor (save the oatmeal packages I have eaten as a snack every mid-morning) was a success.

That’s not to say I will be opening a Korean Restaurant anytime soon, but it does mean that I’m going to be on the hunt for a hagwon to teach me how to cook (once I get my first pay check, that is).

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5 thoughts on “Much More Than A Metro System

  1. Very interesting. The subway system is really something. Obviously safe and very convenient for daily chores for the commuter as well.

  2. The grocery store looks overwhelming to me. How to decide what to eat? The final project looked good and to think coming from a subway!

  3. I am sure I would not need a list in that grocery store. Wow! That one picture looked like they took a bunch of cookie?? boxes and put them all in one basket or box.

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