Chinese New Year goes on for nine days, and today when I was just finally getting settled down to work on the novel which is due in ONE MONTH (*hyperventilates*) and which I still have 40,000 words to write of… corwin mentioned he was hungry and hadn’t had lunch yet and gee, didn’t we need to take a trip to the Super 88 Market in Allston anyway?
We hopped in the car and went to Super 88 with the plan of getting something to eat in the food court there and then doing our asian grocery shopping. The food court there is huge, 10 stalls or something, including korean, viet namese, thai, taiwanese, bubble tea, dim sum, and I can’t even remember what else. We got the asian equivalent of “soup and sandwich” by getting pho and banh mi from the vietnamese stand, plus I got bubble tea and he went and got a thai iced tea.
While we were waiting for our food, a troupe of lion dancers came in and performed rites in front of each and every stand. Each shopkeeper put out a head of lettuce and some fruit, and the two lions would dance around each one and take turns “eating” the lettuce (shredding most of it and spraying it around). The kung fu school who did it is clearly one of the popular ones and they must be doing a lot of these ceremonies — they were all wearing matching sweatshirts with sponsorships on them, including Foxwoods Casino and such.
Each lion is made up of two guys, one working the head, and one the tail. The guys in the head make the eyelashes bat, the mouths open and close, and are responsible for tearing up the lettuce (and, I think, collecting donations), which the one in the back wags the tail and follows the front man around. Sometimes they are quite acrobatic, although in the crowded food court these poor guys couldn’t do much.
There were also two obviously non-Chinese members of the troupe tagging along somewhat wide-eyed and amused, one white, one black–I’m guessing it’s their first New Year.
Anyway, it was very good luck to be there to see the lion dancers, even if my ears are ringing somewhat now from all the drumming and cymbals.
Meanwhile, they are massively renovating Super 88 and it seems like they are shrinking drastically the amount of actual food they sell. The frozen foods section was about the same, but and entire aisle of tea is gone, they no longer have all the Philippine jarred/canned fishes, even the rice section is drastically shrunken. I don’t know how much of that has to do with imports from China being stopped, how much is the economy, and how much is their business model is changing, but there is easily half or less of the products they used to carry, and some items are mysteriously missing completely, like canned water chestnuts.
Huh, just answered my own question with this article from The Boston Globe: Super 88 Shifts Course As Competition Mounts This is a shame, as the other Asian groceries around have too narrow a range of foods to satisfy all my needs, but with Super 88 cutting down to bare bones, it’s hardly worth going there at all.