You know how they put stuff at the checkout line so that a product you normally wouldn't think of buying catches your eye? And isn't it funny that it's almost always junk food? So someone who's been good enough to commit to tofu, veggies, wheat germ ends up buying a Snickers bar too.
Since marketing spans all cultural boundaries, it's no different at Asian supermarkets like 99 Ranch in Irvine.
This flat parcel of peanuts inticed me with its bright lettering and colorful photo. And the picture of the contents as seen on the packaging indeed looked promising. The mass of peanuts, dried shrimp and spices, all glazed with a sticky, candy-like sheen engendered a Pavlovian response in me.
But alas, what I actually got when I opened the snazzy packaging was much different. First of all, it contained smaller foil packets within it. I was expecting to just dive right into the peanuty, shrimpy goodness as soon as I tore it open, but damn, what is this stuff? Airplane peanuts!?
Then I discovered that each of these pouches contained about half a handful of loose dried roasted peanuts, teeny tiny brine shrimp, and dehydrated seasoning. At first I was disappointed. I was expecting something more unhealthy; more substantial; more junk-foodish. Not this parrot food.
But after emptying a few of these single serving bags down my gullet, chased with a cold drink, it's kinda grown on me. Once in a while, I encounter a searing hot pod of dried chili pepper in the mix. Another time it's a small crunchy chunk of fried garlic, which packs a pungent punch while also rendering my breath lethal to vampires.