No-Carb Noodle Night was postponed due to a lack of no-carb noodles. I subbed in Korean vermicelli (yam noodles) instead. Turns out no-carb shirataki noodles are harder to come by locally than I anticipated.
Here in the Bay area, Asian supermarkets are everywhere. So when I planned to prepare a dish with shirataki noodles, I assumed (yeah, yeah, I know) that I could roll in to my local market and roll out with the appropriate noodles.
Even so, no trip to Pacific Supermarket is wasted. It's always an adventure, especially if you're looking for a specific product. If the item is where you think it should be (and it usually is), no problem. But sometimes products are in oddball places, and you have to ask for help.
Pacific Grocery is huge, and cheap, and almost entirely devoid of employees. There are two fish guys (they have several huge tanks of live fish), one bun guy, and one cashier - in a store the size of a large Safeway. None of these folks speak a lot of English, and I don't speak anything else, so any sort of Q & A (for example "Do you carry shirataki noodles?") tends to be equal parts hilarious and unproductive.
After I prowled the coolers and frozen food bins for 15 minutes with no shirataki noodles to be found, I knew I'd have to ask. Both the fish guys, when asked about noodles, shook their heads and and serenely ignored me. The bun guy was AWOL. Luckily, I found the cashier at her register (this is far less common than one might anticipate).
"Excuse me, do you carry shirataki noodles?" I asked her.
"Noodles?" she asked.
"Noodles," I confirmed.
"Noodles," she said, pointing at the noodle aisle.
"I need shirataki noodles," I elaborated. "The kind with no carbs."
"Noodles," she reiterated, jerking her head at the aisle.
"Shirataki noodles?" I asked, one palm upraised.
A thin crease appeared between her brows.
"ALL noodles," she said pointedly, snapping open her newspaper.
Duly chastised, I settled for Korean Vermicelli, a clear noodle made from yams. The cashier consented to take my $1.19, and I was on my way.
It should be noted that the astonishingly unhelpful staff at Pacific Grocery is near-legendary in these parts. Infuriated Yelp.com reviews of all races, creeds and colors are a testament to PG's utter indifference to their customers. On the other hand, $1.19 for a 2 pound bag of noodles makes up for a lot of indifference.
As to the shirataki noodles, stay tuned. After dinner, I found an online resource: www.asianfoodgrocer.com. I put in my order; I'll report on the results when FedEx delivers the goods.