|Shelf of Asian vegetables, close to closing time.|
|A nameless shop within the supermarket, selling such items as fried bread sticks (yóu tiáo, 油條) and sweet and savoury stuffed glutinous rice packets wrapped in bamboo leaves (zòng zi, 粽子).|
Make sure you check what you are buying, because something which is being discounted may be expired or about to expire, and turn up early to avoid the crowds, get the best pick of produce, and perhaps breakfast on a Chinese crepe.
Highlight: Jianbing or Chinese Crepe (jiān bing guǒ zi, 煎餅果子)
[Added 4 August 2013: Sadly, this stall disappeared some time ago now.]
You go to D. H. Supermarket for your fresh vegies, mainly, but I also like the jianbing I had from one of the nameless shops there the other day. I first ate one of these Chinese crepes at the Taiwan Cultural and Traditional Games Festival (see my previous post for a video of this being made) and have been on the lookout for it ever since. Basically a very thin pancake with an egg cracked into it, in this case wrapping two squares of crunchy wonton wrapper, brushed with hoisin and chilli sauce, and garnished with spring onions and black sesame seeds, it is the perfect mix of sweet and savoury, softness and crunch.
|A half-eaten jianbing.|
My only reservation was to do with hygiene, but I have the same concerns when I go to an icecream store and see the scoops sitting in a container of murky water. Let me assure you that there were no unfortunate consequences to my breakfast (other than an overly full belly), and in any case, the thing is cooked for a good few minutes.
To order, point to the menu item labelled "Pan-fried roll", or look for a photo which includes an egg in it, at the stall pictured above. A1 is currently the variety with a fried bread stick inside, while A2 is the option with the crispy wonton wrapper. You will also be asked whether you want it spicy. You do, because that chilli sauce is lovely.
I have seen jianbing for sale at the Pakuranga Night Market as well, but this place at D. H. Supermarket is closer and available daily. I am tempted to say it is also more delicious, but I would have to go to the night market to verify. In any case, I really enjoyed my crepe here. Give it a go, even if it is weird ordering hot food from a supermarket stall.
Highlight: Eggs, Wondrous Eggs
Another great thing about D. H. Supermarket is the variety of eggs they sell. I have seen fresh goose, duck and quail eggs here, in addition to the usual chicken variety, including free range chicken eggs. The more exotic eggs aren't cheap, but I do an internal happy dance every time I find something novel for sale.
|Fresh goose eggs for sale, when in season.|
|Quail eggs and two sorts of preserved eggs.|
Lowlight: Exploding Rotten Duck Egg
What you want to do is to buy the things that everyone else buys, which are replaced regularly. Those Asian greens are fantastic. Avoid the things which look like they have been sitting there for a while, like the duck eggs in the fridge, which I have seen the last few times I went to the shop, but finally decided to try anyway. I thought they were dodgy looking, the last four in the same tray for the past few weeks or longer, but there were no salted eggs for sale, and I had the idea that I would make my own.
The fact that the cashier had to leave the counter to check the price of them should have been ample warning, but I bought my duck eggs anyway. They felt well chilled; what could be wrong? I discovered the answer when I sat down in the car. Just as we were about to drive home, there was a sound like a gunshot. Something wet hit my face and the horrible sulphurous smell of rotten egg spread through the car.
|The case of the exploding egg.|
D. H. Supermarket (大華超市)
83 Dominion Road, Mount Eden, Auckland
(09) 630 2900
Mondays to Sundays 9am - 7pm (inner shops close 6:30pm)
|D. H. Supermarket is at the city end of Dominion Road.|
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