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Jeff Houck

The Tampa Tribune’s food writer since 2005, Jeff Houck covers the way people live through their food. He also hosts the Table Conversations food podcast and believes that everything crunchy is good.

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Fun With Labels At The Asian Supermarket

Posted Aug 3, 2007 by Jeff Houck

Updated Aug 3, 2007 at 02:45 PM

I love cruising through Oceanic Supermarket on Tampa Street, just north of I-275. There are so many things foreign to my diet that I’m simultaneously compelled to explore and embarassed by my ignorance of how to actually cook and use the delicacies in the store.

So, taking a note from Sir Edmund Hillary, I found my own Tenzing Norgay to help me scale this culinary Everest: Jaden Hair from Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen.


Jaden was the subject of a feature I wrote this week for Flavor. I wrote about her spectacular food blog and about how she came to be an amateur food photographer and professional cooking teacher.

So when she said she was coming to Tampa this week to do some shopping, I asked to tag along. (That’s her above next to the fish tank at Oceanic, picking out which gigantic live tilapia she wants whacked for dinner.)

Jaden was kind to do a “See this? Eat it.” and “See this? Don’t eat it.” tour. We perused the aisle with the soba noodles. I learned tips about Asian spices to sprinkle on popcorn. At her behest, I popped a couple of peppercorns into my mouth and felt my tongue go numb. It was like a mini vacation for my tastebuds.

And although I’ve shopped there many times before, I saw new items that I hadn’t previously noticed.


Interesting. What’s that?


Nice. Very pink. Tender.

Looks like Porky used Lavoris.

What else?


Hmmm. Looks like some sort of blanched squid.


Beef aorta. I was way off.

That’s aorta. As in, “Aorta not buy that or else my family will vom at the dinner table.”



What the hell?


Note to self: Remember this for future Santeria rituals.



White. Stringy. Potentially delicious.

I can’t even imagine.


Where did this come from?

The boneless duck farm, of course.


Oh, lord. This could be bad. Very, very bad.


Scalded? Damn. I prefer my intestine poached with a white wine sauce. Or maybe a nice Bearnaise.



White. Clean. Succulent.

What could it be?



With my luck, I’d go to the register and they’d do a price check over the speakers. “HOW MUCH FOR THE UTERUS?”

I showed this photo to a friend at work:


“Reminds me of Britany Spears,” she said.

After seeing that bit of porcine lady business for sale, I decided to take a break from the meat counter and head to the thereputic tea section to cleanse my mental palate.

I should have known there would be quite a selection on that aisle as well.


I love that they show the actual organ on the box.

I’m guessing this tea would be helpful in purging all that aorta, intestine and uterus from your blood stream.


First thought: Where was this when I could have used it in high school?

Second thought: Pimple Solution. Band name!


Sorry. I don’t drink “man tea.”

Besides, it reminds me too much of these unmentionables I once read about.


This label, though, was my favorite of the trip:


Simple. Direct. Zen-like in its simplicity.

If only the rest of life were more like this label.

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