Example: I tried this jar of chili sauce from the market.
blech blech blech!
There's a lovely little shop called Gourmet Galley that sells some great stuff, including dried galangal and some of your staple sauces: ketchup manis, black bean paste, even tamarind paste... but it's marked up quite a lot and I still have no where to go for all the fresh goods: decent bean sprouts, decent lemongrass, thai basil, Asian greens... and noodles... all I've found are some overpriced, tiny packages of bee-hoon tucked way away on a bottom shelf. They've probably been there half-a-century.
Not to mention, the island meat is expensive and the conventional store alternatives are unpalatable to say the least.
I guess this is an argument for living somewhere semi-urban, or becoming much more adept at the online-food-shopping thing. I suppose I could also go chat with the proprietors of the China Pearl or Golden Triangle, the two Asian-y eating establishments in town. Maybe we could work out a procurement deal?
But for now, I've decided to take comfort in my bottle of Sriracha and wait patiently for my first visit to the mainland.
PS. I was so so happy to see the excited responses to my last Sriracha post and to the photo I posted on Facebook. I was also super-psyched to see the NY Times article on Sriracha last night. David Tran's story is pretty amazing.