May 2, 2010


There's nothing like lunching at the Russian Market. The uneven and damp concrete floors guide you through a maze of vendors offering foods you've never seen (or maybe foods you would rather not see). Today I plopped down in front of a tame-looking noodle stand, hoping for a light bowl of noodles and broth. Instead, I watched as the vendor artfully layered basil and other greens, a handful of thick, white noodles, some seasoning, and fish paste. Ah yes, a mostly vegetarian option for once, I though, feeling meat-weary. But to my dismay, she scooped up three unappetizingly dark sausages, whipped out a pair of scissors and chopped up the meat into my bowl. She splashed on a few spoons of oil and handed me my fate.

Gulp. I stared down at the noodles that seemed to be alive, slurping and slipping past one another as I folded the ingredients with chopsticks. I tried not to look at or think about the sausage that was surely made of some garbage-feeding animal's innards. I pinched some noodles, now dripping with sauce, into my mouth. A thorough chew-inspection proved the noodles harmless, though a little wormy. Looming in the cover of lukewarm noodle-worms, tangled pseudo-meat chunks mocked my attempt to eat local. I could just eat around the sausage, you know, leave it in the bowl. But no, in a dramatic moment of epicure, I knew it was now or never. Just eat it. Bursting through the tough skin, a savory collection of delicious moist meats aptly rewarded my bravery. Delicious. Adventuresome. Best of all, just one dollar.