Thursday, July 21, 2011

Korean Food - A Special Civil War Thursday

We are in Centreville, VA, about 4 1/2 miles from the Bull Run battlefield.

So close and yet so far.

The temperature when we got here was 99.  It soon rose to 100 with a heat index of 110.  After over 6 hours of driving, we got to our motel and decided to go to the Manassas Battlefield National Park. There were a lot of activities there. 

Unfortunately a lot of people had the same idea.  It would have been totally impossible to make the needed left turn (with no traffice light) we needed to make in order to get to the special parking lot, with a shuttle bus that would have taken us to the visitors center. So we drove past the park, getting a quick view of  Henry Hill and a series of historical plaques.  So, there went our original plan.  Time for Plan B.  And plan B turned out to be something we never would have dreamed of.

Asian food.

If history is my first love, eating is my second.  So leave it to me to turn a visit to a Civil War battlefield into an international food opportunity. (more on that later).

With hopefully a good nights sleep refreshing us, we are going to try again tomorrow.  Tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to go up to 103.  So we will have the authentic Civil War experience - roasting in the heat.  At least, we are not wearing heavy wool uniforms.  Fortunately, some of the sites are open at 8am.  At 10am the reinactors (for the battle reenactments of Saturday and Sunday) will parade, and I can only hope the temperature isn't near 100 degrees by parade time.  Then we can figure something out that involves air conditioning.

The Civil War soldiers would not recognize present day Centreville, VA.

The area where we are staying is heavily Korean.  You pass by shopping centers with businesses which have names...well some of them are lost in the translation to English.  Way lost.  Like the store called "Spider Mart".  I thought it was a heat related hallucination on my part but my spouse saw it also.  Frankly, I would rather not know what it was selling.

Fried by the heat, we decided to check out an international food store near our motel called Grand mart.

Imagine, if you will, a large supermarket.  You walk in the door and the first thing you see is Korean melons on sale.  They are elongated, yellow with white stripes.  They actually looked familiar.  I think we tried to grow them many years ago.  Then we saw the jackfruit. And then....and then.....

And then there were the other fruits and veggies.  Winter melon, snake squash, bitter melon, Korean cucumbers.  Local peaches.  Various yams - red, purple, yellow. Sesame leaves, bitter leaves, something that looked like perilla. Banana flowers

Then we moved on to the fish.  All types of fish:  red snapper, sea bass, eel, live blue crab, live tiliapia swimming in a tank.  Meat consisted of pork and goat.

There was a tasting table set up with various samples of condiments.  I recognized seaweed but not much of anything else.

All the signs were bi-lingual, but none of the announcements in the store were in English.   Most of the clientele would have been people totally unfamiliar to the Civil War combatants.

Once we got past the Asian and Indian section, there was a large Hispanic food section.  We picked up a couple of bagged beans there.  We also picked up some of the yams.  And then we went to Trader Joe's and picked up dinner.  Tomorrow, when our heads have (hopefully) stopped swimming, we might eat out in an Afghan restaurant in Fairfax that we read about.  Or, we might stick (no pun intended) to Cheogajip Chicken, a Korean fast food chicken chain that has an outpost in Centreville.

Whatever comes tomorrow, I suspect it will be an interesting post.  I might even have something about the Civil War to blog about.

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