Number 65: Durian (Part 1)

1 Aug

This weekend, I made my way into an area of the city I haven’t been to in years.  An area that always leaves me confused, amazed, and impressed at the same time.  This weekend, I went to Chinatown.  I have gone to several Asian markets over the last few months to try to find durian, but I kept hearing “no, you have to go to Chinatown.”  So I did!  And that’s when the real quest began.

Now, I’ve been to Chinatown in New York, Chinatown in San Fran, and Chinatown in London.  The one in Chicago is very different from all of these.  I remember walking down the streets of Chinatown in New York and being face-to-face with all kinds of fresh produce, being sold right out in the streets.  To my dismay, I found that Chicago’s Chinatown was not like this at all.

I found dried fish, live fish, candy, tea, hula hoops, ginger, VHS tapes, paper lanterns, paper flowers, oversized boxes of Pocky, jeggings, bubble tea…but no fresh produce.

I found a hologram poster that looked like a tiger, but turned into a naked chick as you walked by…

I found a killer robot samurai surrounded by tiny motorcycles…

I found shelf upon shelf of unidentifiable objects, most of them resembling gigantic goose poop…

I found brain tonic.  Brain tonic, I tell you!

I even found stir-fried blood jelly and chives flower…

But still no sign of fresh produce anywhere.  Finally, when I was getting close to giving up, I saw this sign:

I somehow knew that Fat Lee wouldn’t let me down.  When I walked in, a little old man greeted me and when I asked him if they had durian, his eyes lit up and he nodded furiously. Then, he took me to a fridge, pulled out a giant spiky ball, and handed it to me.



4 Responses to “Number 65: Durian (Part 1)”

  1. Big Onion August 2, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Just so you know, Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods simply cannot eat this stuff, so if you managed to choke down even one bite then you’ve got one over that crazy little man.

    I had this once. Once! Never again. Not even my (at that time) roommate’s dog would go near the stuff. I bet my dogs wouldn’t either, and they eat everything.

    Can’t wait to see how this one ends … 🙂

  2. Laura in Cancun August 2, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    Love the “tiger” hologram.

    I keep hearing about durian this month… strange. Can’t wait to hear how it went!

  3. IntenseGuy August 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    I’ve not a clue as to what Durian is… Was Fat Lee a sumo wrestler type? 🙂

    In Philadelphia’s China town they have this neat chinese fortune cookie making factory… I can stand there and watch ’em make those for hours!

    Aren’t you glad gigantic goose poop isn’t in the list?


  1. Number 65: Durian (Part 2) | OMNIVORE100PROJECT - August 2, 2011

    […] we left off with a tiny old Asian man in Chinatown handing me a durian.  Fabulous. So I drove it home, plopped it on the counter (not before getting spiked 1,000 times […]

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