All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012
I touched upon this place a while back in my Drunken Noodle post. I feel it deserves another, more complete review.
First of all – I suppose I could be accused of being a shopaholic. I shop & shop & stock up & buy multiples of the same thing. I have nowhere to put stuff – and still I buy more. But – I’m not talking about clothes or shoes or any other items typically the object of desire in a shopper’s life. I am fascinated by & cannot resist ethnic spices & sauces & condiments etc. Let me prove it by showing you my pantry & spice drawers (and cabinet). I realize some of you might see these & call one of those hoarder reality shows on me – but I am gonna show you anyway.
Before you ask – NO – I do not eat Spaghettios. Those are for my boyfriend who has unusual tastes of his own.
The best thing about ethnic markets whether they be Spanish or Indian or Thai or whatever – they tend to sell spices REALLY CHEAP. I saw a std jar of cardamom pods at Gelson’s today for $16. This size (stock photo)
I bought this whopper of a ten ouncer at the Indian market for $20.
More than ten times the quantity for $4 more. The same supermarket size of turmeric was $8. I got 16oz today (the biggest jar here) for under $6.
Often the cheapest spices come in cellophane bags and you will need a jar to transfer them into – but you will save SO much money – buying some cheap spice jars won’t hurt you at all.
Here is the store front at Bangluck – 5170 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027 –
And here are some shots of the wealth of treasures to be found inside:
8000 brands of bamboo shoots.
An entire aisle of dried noodle varieties.
EVERY Asian condiment ever conceived.
Your favorite brand(s) of canned quail eggs.
And then canned curries & soup stocks from which you can make restaurant quality Thai food by just adding a can of this stuff to some noodles or veggies or rice.
I have no idea what that hotdog & balls are (Better penis jokes to follow. Be patient). Nor do I want to eat a can of smiling fish – whatever the Hell that is. Whatever it is – it seems fitting that it is right near the phallic/testicular wonderland above.
Oh, wait. They are seasoned cockles. Ew. I tend to be a purist when it comes to cockles. No seasoning. Ever.
Speaking of penises – there is no shortage (pardon the pun) of cock jokes to be had at BANGLUCK. Perhaps intentionally so. Here – somebody pickled ma-cock.
Wooohooo! It sure is fun making fun of things I don’t understand. It keeps me from feeling inferior.
Speaking of things I don’t understand – last time around I shared this completely unmarked package with you:
There was a great deal of guessing as to WTF these could be – in the frozen section of meat & fish department. I think they are silkworm pupae. Click that phrase there – see if you agree.
Today – I found something even more upsetting. WAY down in the secret meat & fish section – see? Way back there?
Ready? Because – I mean – yuck.
Yup! That’s right! For $4.49 – you could be the proud owner of four frozen giant water bugs. Come on! Who hasn’t – in college or some time – gotten a terrible case of the munchies and bemoaned the dearth of – you know – Ben & Jerry’s or – YES – giant water bugs in the freezer??? You know who you are. Anyway –
Good news! Bangluck has LOTS of them! AND – for those of us watching our waists – you can guiltlessly eat the entire package for the low, low count of only 35 calories – only 15 calories coming from fat. (That’s actually almost 50% fat. Are avocados that fatty? Who knew exoskeleton was so rich? Or are these guys the equivalent of an eclair? Egads!)
Among the other exotic selections are – BALLS – made of I-don’t-know-what.
CHEAP produce & what seems to be cheap meat:
And shallots the size of apples
Hot outside? Want somebody’s forgotten soda? No worries! Bangluck has THAT, too! Right there is fridge #15. Just keeping it chilled for you!
Cooking tools & serving dishes:
Need rice? YEAH! Got THAT!
How about some shrimp crackers in a really cool package? CHECK! And you can feel good about eating these because they were made under the VERY strict manufacturing oversight of China!
Fish chips? Yeah – even that frothy beer doesn’t make that very wet & raw white fish there a decent sales rep for a CRACKER.
“Love these crackers. I just wish they were more like raw scrod,” — said NOBODY EVER.
So – in closing – I’d just like to promote Bangluck as an amazing source of FRESH noodles
Every sort of curry in a rainbow of varieties can be found here – powdered, canned, as a paste, as a curry ready for just adding vegetables to. Spices dirt cheap. EVERY kind of Asian dry noodle. Rices you have never heard of in quantities from under a pound to “feed a prison system.” Produce is really cheap & if you are brave or – or if maybe you just really enjoy lower intestinal distress – you could sample the meat & fish offerings. You can buy nori here for making sushi for .99 cents – where the EXACT SAME THING a mile away at the evil Gelson’s costs $5.
And the best thing is – you can fill your little red basket thing until it is too heavy to carry – and still get outta there for under $30.
Don’t forget the giant water bugs for the kids!!!
And PS – the Thai place next door – Samalammadingdong? If only I could PHOTOGRAPH how good the smells coming out of there are – ALL THE TIME. Also – definitely worth a trip!