T&T Supermarket is my go-to grocery store for all things Asian. It’s like Whole Foods, but started by Chinese Canadians, not Texans. They have most, if not all of your basic and not-so-basic Asian goods. Looking for tripe? They got it. Frozen Japanese fish cakes? They got that too! It was my second stop for my ramen ingredients, and they had everything I needed.
The thing about T&T, and well, Vancouver in general, is that if you look like you speak Chinese, they expect that you speak Chinese. I always feel that bit of disapproval when I open my mouth and non-accented English comes out. So there I was, as the meat counter, looking at the bellies, butts and shoulders. I needed pork belly and shoulder, but as always, I hesitated. I don’t know why though, because when I asked for 3 lbs of pork shoulder, the woman was super-friendly while she picked out a piece of meat that was exactly 3lb.
I know what you’re thinking, 3 pounds of meat? For two? Yes. I tend to be optimistic when cooking. I always think that the two of us will eat more than we really do and end up making too much. Its not always a good thing, but sometimes it comes in handy, really, it does!
Back to T&T. They have great variety. They even sell cooking sake! I picked up some draft sake for the taré at the liquor store, but Mike actually wanted to drink it, so finding cooking sake for $2 was a definite bonus.
Some other helpful items I found: economy pork bones at 79¢/lb and fresh “Japanese Ramen Noodles.” I’m going to make the alkaline noodles in the book one day, but for now I’m going with store bought. According to Chang, finding sodium and potassium carbonate can be a “pain in the ass,” so finding the fresh ramen was a pretty big plus for me.
With the shopping trips a success, I am now ready to make ramen!