Kilt it dead

16 Feb

Today, I experienced my first “Ranch 99.” Their Web site says they have them all over the country, but as far as I can tell, there are several in California, one in Nevada, one in Washington and one in Texas.

Basically, the Ranch 99 is a Asian supermarket and in this area there is no shortage of Asian grocers. I can’t even count how many I have been to … they are all over the East Bay and San Francisco. Ranch 99 is in Richmond. Generally, when I go into these markets, I browse and pick up what I call squid jerky, although I’m not sure what the actual name of it is. It looks like this:

I had a similar plan today, when I ventured into the acclaimed “Ranch 99.” After browsing through several aisles of small packages and cans of edibles, I found myself in the deli area – or meat section. Except it was all sea food. And most of it was alive.

This is new for me. I have never seen anything live (other than lobsters) available for purchase at a grocery store. They had buckets of live clams, snails, crabs, and a million varieties of live fish. Swimming around in tanks! I tucked myself into a corner, sat on a display freezer and watched. Someone would order something (for instance: a large shark-looking fish that was about 24 inches long) and the deli worker would either grab or net the fish. In all instances, the fish would flop out of the workers hands or net and crash to the floor. The fish would scramble on the wet tile, flapping its fins furiously. The worker would either try to recover it from the scale-covered floor, or would simply kick it over to the sink area. At that point the worker grabbed a huge mallet and with a force equal to swinging a baseball bat, would knock the fish on the head. Sometimes twice. He (all the workers were men) then picked it up, weighed it, and finally, cut it into fillets.

It was mesmerizing. I mean, yes it was sad; but mostly intriguing. I was just looking at this bass, swimming in a tank with his friends, and now he is cut up into 8 pieces and he’s in a bag on his way to the check out. It was interesting to experience the process of how food is brought to our tables. I didn’t see the first part of the story (fish is born, caught, transferred to Ranch 99), but I definitely saw A LOT of the middle part of the process. It was kind of like watching Mr. Rogers, when he would go to factories and document how they make things like crayons and tubas. (watch those here).

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4 Responses to “Kilt it dead”

  1. katie stratton February 17, 2010 at 5:54 am #

    I remember seeing the Mr. Roger’s crayon episode when I was younger. Much less traumatic for a child than what you’re describing at Ranch 99. Did you order a fish after that??

  2. Grammy February 18, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    Lock ‘n Load

  3. Colby February 19, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    Molm and I just rewatched the crayon episode. I miss Mr Rogers.

  4. molm February 19, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    remember eel chips (gag) and how much Mikey liked them? Can you get yakisoba and gyoza at Ranch 99?

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