Ranch 99 Market, Pleasanton, near the 580. Went looking because my new job location is situated in the same shopping center. It is really strange that schools are located in storefronts next to Subway sandwich shops and State Farm offices. New phenomenon…sign of the times. So, being the adventurous sort, and highly motivated to avoid freeway traffic at the hour my job ends, I walk on in to the market. Clearly Southeast Asian, Chinese, and Taiwanese in nature. A whole hog’s head sits beside an entire goose, sans feathers but neck and head intact. Smelt are arranged beside salmon and shark. Roe is available. Bright red. The packaging of cookies and cakes is beautiful, with colorful illustrations. Hair conditioner is available in large bottles with images of gorgeous Asian ladies and their long, straight tresses.
I bought one “ball” of shrimp meat with stiff, curly tasteless things attached. When I got home with my treasure, I realized it wasn’t quite so special and threw it out. But, I’m game. Next Wednesday when I return to work, I will make an effort to explore the same market, and be open minded. Not open enough to purchase the pig’s head, but something less imposing. Maybe some cookies from Vietnam.
Nixed the cookies. On my next visit I chose to pick up a loaf of sliced green onion bread and two boxes of tissue of an unrecognizable brand. Tame. Jackfruit. Ever heard of it? I hadn’t, but there it was, enormous size with a bumpy skin in a light shade of brown. Did I say enormous? The size would have necessitated rolling one fruit to the check out. The surprise? It is not from any place in Asia — according to the store sign it comes from Mexico!