Rod Dreher

Andrew Sullivan links to a post in which the writer discloses the secret of eating exotically and well for cheap. Excerpt:

People are always railing, of course, about how people on food stamps don’t buy enough healthy food. But heaven forbid the food they buy is too healthy, or healthy and also outside the mainstream. It’s absurd. Fresh produce is a luxury? Soy protein (which costs about the same as meat) the height of libertine-ism? Not to mention that things such as Chinese gourd and coconut milk are the very kind of corner-store staples in ethnic neighborhoods that often sell these sorts of foods cheaper than mainstream varieties (at the Asian-run market in my neighborhood, I can get three large hunks of fresh, homemade tofu for $1, compared to $2.50 or $3 for the packaged stuff; the Polish corner store sells an abundance of large, quite good Polish beers for cheaper than domestic varieties).

That’s really true. When I lived in Dallas, I discovered Asia World Market, a large Chinese supermarket in Plano, just off the Central Expressway. The produce was fresh and astonishingly cheap. I noticed the Fuji apples had the exact same stickers as the Fujis at our regular supermarket, but were one-third (!) the price. I never bought meat there — Lent was the occasion of my trips there, to get lots of fresh, cheap greens, and tofu — but if I lived closer, I’d be a regular. Similarly, you could get great, cheap stuff at Indian markets. The jasmine rice at both the Chinese and the India market was way cheaper than the same products at standard supermarkets. Also, a Dallas friend who is an accomplished chef told me he never darkened the doors of Whole Foods or Central Market, the foodie emporiums, because they were too expensive. He bought his seafood and stuff at Fiesta, the grocery chain catering to Hispanics. He said the prices were far better. We checked out the local Fiesta, and he was right.

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