Thursday, January 25, 2007

Coming Home with Groceries

My month of travel is almost over. I am now on a tropical island doing a whole lot of nothing. But before I left Saigon the last time I did a little grocery shopping at a local department store. Ok, a lot of grocery shopping. And it's possible I will do even more before my flight leaves.

While it is sometimes a bother to choose knick knacks for your friends and relations, I find nothing so satisfying as grocery shopping in a foreign country. With globalization there is much to be found "everywhere" but not everything. For instance here in Vietnam there are tons of teas and nut candies and brittle that I would be hard pressed to find at home, and not nearly as cheaply.

In Thailand, China and Vietnam you find all kinds of nut brittle--cashew, sesame seed, melon seed and peanut. Some have thin little layers or rice paper too. They are freshly made, crisp and crunchy and taste better than anything I can find at home. I bought it in a myriad of combinations and sizes.

I've also grown accustomed to both the Lotus and Jasmine tea here. In addition I'm bringing home some lovely flowering teas that I have never tried before. Last time I even brought home some "Yellow Label Lipton" which is also found all over Asia. No worries about sizes or favorite colors, when it comes to foodie gifts one size fits all. I have decided not to bring home any bottles of fish sauce though, I'm afraid that's too risky!