340 words on Food
While living in halls at Warwick I learned a few (err, two actually, I could never remember how to make the cool jellyfish salad, nor would I know where to get the ingredients…) Chinese recipes from my flatmate Jenny. One of them are aubergines in black bean sauce which I really dig. To make them you need a strange variety of fermented or otherwise rotten black beans. And I got Jenny’s leftover Chinese beans when I left. Which was rather helpful because I had to learn the hard way that they are really difficult to find in Germany.
Which brings me to the current crisis: In an attempt to ‘clean up’ the kitchen, my flatmates had thrown my black beans away. Sure, they were well beyond their best by date and they have a somewhat atrocious smell. But (as seems to be the case with many packaged Asian foods or condiments – I don’t really want to know what they do to the stuff before packaging it, I guess) I was assured to not worry about those details. A strategy which worked fairly well so far. And now it failed… and I was in need of new black beans.
And while I remembered that my favourite Asian foodstore in Göttingen didn’t have those beans when I asked for them when I bought some rice today (I quite like the scented Thai rice I randomly picked up some other time. What’s your facourite? I should have gotten one of those cool 5kg bags I guess as we’ve already almost used up half of the bag I got after one meal.) So I asked the owner who’s always really helpful whether he could get some for me. And as luck has it they are stocking those black beans by now!
Apparently it’s quite unusual for Europeans to buy those beans and the owner told me that usually just Chinese people are buying them and he wanted to know how I got to know them to begin with and I told the whole story…