By Assunta Ng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
When you see the word “Himalayas,” the first thing that comes to mind is likely tall mountains. The last thing I would imagine is food.
Not too long ago, a YouTube tutorial said rubbing Himalayan salt, mixed with turmeric and sesame seed oil, would improve gum health. Oh really! My gums are not a problem, but it could be better.
Is there such a thing as Himalayan salt? I forgot about it until weeks later, I stumbled upon Himalayan salt on a top shelf at Lam’s Seafood. Later, I saw Himalayan salt on a bottom shelf at Uwajimaya.
Does a pandemic have anything to do with my growing appetite for strange foods?
As a matter of fact, it does. We were not allowed to go out to do fun things during Covid, so I ended up experimenting with different types of food bought from supermarkets. It’s my excuse to get out of my home and exercise simultaneously. Sorry, online stores, you won’t be getting my business. I have been resisting you the last 24 months.
I might never travel to the Himalayas in this lifetime. But I love to try something from those majestic mountains. I Googled Himalayan salt and asked my periodontist, who is Indian American, about it. He assured me that it is a holistic food.
Himalayan salt is better than the regular sea salt for a troubling factor. Regular sea salt comes from the ocean. “90% of the sea salt has microplastics,” said Dr. Berg on his YouTube channel. “Plastic is toxic to the brain.”
“However, Himalayan salt, [has] zero plastics because the deposits made up of the salt, comes from the ancient sea before the plastics.”
What does Himalayan salt taste like? Not bad. It has the same salt content as sea salt. But its color is a pretty, translucent pink. The color is eye-soothing. Its texture is uneven in size and has much bigger crystals than processed sea salt.
Himalayan salt is everywhere. They are available in Asian and non-Asian supermarkets, including QFC.
Next time you throw away any plastic bottles in the ocean, think twice. One, you are harming our environment. Secondly, if you are a sea salt consumer, you might end up cooking and eating them in your meals.
The other day, a Uwajimaya customer asked the fish guy to cut away the belly because he wanted the meat and not the belly. The customer doesn’t know what he’s missing.
My husband, who happened to be standing over the fish counter, said, “I’ll take it.”
The belly part was for me as I love salmon bellies. Years ago, supermarkets used to throw away bellies. Now, they can sell it and make money.
Salmon consists of omega-3 fats, B vitamins, potassium, and selenium, and it’s a great source of protein. Those nutrients are good for your heart and brain. My husband likes to buy pieces of salmon, including a big belly part. Sometimes, it’s not that easy to find salmon with a belly on the side. I like the belly part, and he likes the salmon meat. What to do?
At Uwajimaya, we can just buy salmon bellies at a much lower price than a salmon filet. But then, I wouldn’t want to have just a plate full of bellies without salmon flesh. It’s nice to have a mixture of both.
How do we cook it? A pro in salmon cooking, my husband microwaves both the salmon meat and belly together for about two minutes with a little soy sauce diluted with water to lower the salt content. Yum!
As inflation rises, organic eggs can hit more than $6 for a dozen, whereas regular eggs cost about $2-$4. Before Covid, I wouldn’t pick small local farmers’ organic eggs as they are pricey. Now, supporting local farmers is my philosophy. Since I am not traveling anywhere, that travel money goes toward my food budget. And I am not shopping either. I don’t consider buying more stuff as a treat for myself. So we buy healthy foods to invest in our health.
Do organic eggs taste superior? The truth is, I can’t tell the difference. I enjoy eating eggs, period. And knowing that these chickens are raised naturally and free from antibiotics, I am all for it.
Green cauliflower or Romanesque
Actually the flowering head of a plant, it is called broccolo romanesco, Romanesque cauliflower, or Roman cauliflower.
The green cauliflower is supposed to be more nutritious, rich in fiber, and help red blood cells grow. It is probably a hybrid, being cross pollinated, and developed into a new breed of vegetables. Do they taste better than regular cauliflowers or broccoli?
Not really. It also takes a bit longer to cook to make it tender.
Both broccoli and cauliflower have anti-inflammatory properties. If you don’t want to eat both of them together at meals, it seems sensible to eat green cauliflower.
Unfortunately, their growing season is short and now that the supply chain is being affected, green cauliflowers may be hard to find. Yet, I recently saw it at Pike Place Market.
Pink lemons were discovered in Burbank, California in 1930. A few months ago, I bought one as I was curious about the word “pink.” It tasted less sour and has a slightly sweet flavor, more like a grapefruit. It’s my kind of lemon for my tea and other foods.
Pink lemons contain a high concentration of lycopene, an antioxidant that gives fruits and vegetables their red pigment. However, they are not always available in stores.
They are considered a specialty. You might have to find them in specialty stores.
During Covid, no matter how delicious the food is, I would think twice about buying it if it is unhealthy. If I buy them impulsively, they might remain in my home shelf or fridge for a long long time after just a couple of bites. Yep, I have become even more health-conscious than before.
Covid is the best time to acquire good new habits. You can call it discipline. I am not afraid of dying, but I would hate getting sick in a hospital with tubes going through my throat and lungs like many Covid patients. And those patients with long Covid have suffered so many side effects afterwards, it is just not worth the risk. Food is therapy. If you don’t believe it, try eating French fries and drinking sodas every day for a month, you see what happens to your face and body. Your skin will age fast. Any food which gives me nourishment and more immunity, I seek out. If they have great flavors, I would advocate for them. If they are easy to cook, it’s an extra benefit for busy people like me.
Assunta can be reached at email@example.com.