Expensive groceries

Argh. I spent quite a bit on groceries yesterday; I should say I’d spent the money on luxurious groceries. I finally went to Guan Hock Lee, which is a distributor for most, if not all, of the Japanese ingredients and food products sold in Brunei. And the items are not cheap. Here’s my stash:

Mirin-something, teriyaki marinade, soba noodles, konbu seaweed, couscous
Soft sake urikake, gomashio, hijiki, can of inarizushi no moto (seasoned tofu beancurd skins)

Little mentions about each item:

Mirin-something actually reads "Japanese sweet sauce" in English, which had thrown me off. So I didn’t even bother to look at the hiragana. When I asked the shop assistant for mirin, she pointed this out to me and I was like, oh, yeah, it does read mirin-something. Apparently, they don’t have any alcoholic mirin. I looked it up online, and this is mirin-fu , an imitation mirin, which tastes pretty much the same as the real one. This brand is made (or packed for) Singapore, and has a small halal stamped marked on the back.

Kikkoman teriyaki marinade, for my mum to try. You can be sure that unless this is ultra yummy on its own, I’ll be making my own marinades or teriyaki sauces in the future. *falls over* I know, it was a bit of an impulse buy, but my mum had used my tempura and noodle base for marinading so I thought she might like to try this instead.

Soba noodles for making cold soba with. My favourite meal of all times! Dipping sauce is preferred slightly sweet. ^_~

Konbu seaweed for my dashi stock, which I might not need now. *makes a face* I _will_ use it though, because I don’t want to let B$7.50 go to waste. T_T

Couscous rice, the only non-Japanese thing I’d bought at Guan Hock Lee. I’d always wanted to try this as I’ve seen a lot of recipes on Woman’s Day using it. When Fei mentioned that it was also considered a pasta, I just knew I had to find it. This is an instant type that cooks in 4-mins. Yay for quick foods. I’ll look for some simple recipes for it and make it for bento soon or lunch one of these days. ^o^ It costs $6.00 for the box, which is quite cheap. We’ll just have to see how much it makes.

Bottom row: "Soft furikake sake seasoning mix". Sake = salmon.. I’d actually been hoping to get this and this , but they didn’t have it. *makes a face* The one I got is made by Marumiya .

Gomashio (sesame seeds & salt), a Marumiya product as well. I kinda like how it looks on onigiri as well as furikake, so I thought I’d get it as a change of flavour. But now, I realise, if I had thought about it some more, I might have looked at making my own . But it’s B$4.50, not that expensive for something you’ll only be using small amounts of at a time.

Hijiki because it’s supposedly chock-full of fibre and uber healthy (in small amounts). It’s B$6.70 for that small packet, but again, it’s not that expensive as you’ll only be using quite small quantities at a time.

The can is Santa brand inarizushi skins! At B$8.50 a can, it has 16 pieces in it (so the can says), and that makes it quite cheap a piece. I _love_ inarizushi with a passion and it costs me $2-3 dollars for two at any Japanese restaurant here, so seeing this had made me really happy. Then I thought to ask my mum, hey ma, do they sell these type of tofu skins locally here? And she said _yes_. So I said, oh, okay, I know how to season the skins , so next time, we’ll make our own. *falls over* In truth, I bought these to check out the flavour. If they’re good, and what I make don’t turn out as good, I’ll stick to the cans. ^o^

A separate pic of the miso packet I’d bought:

I could tell it was miso, but I don’t know the kanji for white miso. The shop assistant said that it’s used for miso soup. So I think we can safely assume it’s the taste I want. I plan to bring instant miso balls to work so that I can have miso soup with rice. Yum. I saw a few instant miso soup packets, but they didn’t seem worth the cost, especially since I have no idea about the taste.

From what I can guess, now that I’m at home and have stared at the miso packet a bit, the words in the green cloud seems to mean that dashi has been added to the miso. And the the yellow banner below the cloud says katsuo-something. So that would mean it might have dashi made from katsuo. Unknowingly, I seem to have bought miso that already has some dashi stock in it. As far as I can tell, the packet I’d bought is this one. I’d really wanted plain miso though since I aready have the items for making dashi stock. Ah well.

I was also hoping to get dashi stock granules, so that I would have an easier time of it making dashi stock, but no luck. I’d also wanted to get some Japanese mayo, but they didn’t have any which wouldn’t expire next month.

My total bill had turned out to be $60.20. On initial payment, it seems like a lot, but when you consider that the items are supposed to be used in quite small quantities at a time, it doesn’t seem so bad. ^_^; Admittedly, I could lunch quite well for a month on that amount.

As a side note, Guan Hock Lee actually sells gruyere cheese! *_* I’d been looking at macaroni and cheese recipes and most of them use this cheese. But it costs $12.50 for a small slab. Hahaha. No way am I going to make an uber expensive "comfort" food. *falls over* I’ll stick to using cheddar and parmesan. *_*

After Guan Hock Lee, my mum and I went to SupaSave to see if there were any vegetables we could stock up on for the week. There were a lot of stuff like pak choi and similar green leafy vegetables with big stalks which I don’t like the taste of. I dislike the stalks because they still taste of fresh vegetable even when they’re cooked soft. *falls over* We got brocolli, and I got cherry tomatoes and some pea sprouts. And I bought some ground chicken to make burger patties and meatballs with. Hopefully it’ll taste as good as ground beef, if less as meaty.

I also bought some mango and melon cheese because it sounded so good. And I also got a small carton of buttermilk as I wanted to have some pancakes. For $5.30 a carton of buttermilk, I think I should have just bought a $3.70 box of buttermilk pancake mix and saved a lot more. *sobs* But the taste is different, I try to tell myself. ToT

I had contemplated buying a small tub of yoghurt and a couple of dips like hummus and tzatziki and pesto for salad, but all those things are around $6 each, so I refrained. I’ll try to make my own darn hummus or eat them at some kebab eateries. T_T And I saw some wholemeal pita bread which I’d wanted, but there were too many to eat or use up in the next few days in one packet. *pouts* I’m going to learn me some chapatis. T_T (Apparently, tortillas require a special flour which I’ll never be able to find here.)

My total bill came up to almost B$100. Thank goodness for credit cards. ToT I usually can’t shop cheap, which is why it’s a good thing my mum’s the one who cooks our meals and gets the groceries. In truth, we eat quite simply so our shopping never don’t add up to $100 every month. But I usually am a bit more fussier with food and when I cook for myself, I like to make it a bit different from what my mum would cook for dinner, which is why I tend to buy different (and more expensive) ingredients. -_-

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