So...another trip to Oto's yielded some culinary questions:
I bought a Taiwan gobo (burdock). It's a long (over three feet) skinny root. I consulted my cookbook and there were a couple of recipes but I also took a bite raw and found it to be really unpleasant. It tasted like licking a chlorinated pool. Anyone ever used this stuff for anything?
They also had green plums (ume) which they were touting as "in season" and "locally grown" which suckered me into buying them, but then when I tasted one, it was as hard and sour as....a green plum. I know that people eat them pickled but what the hell do you do with raw ones?
I bought some preserved tofu in a jar which I was excited to try, but the jar was leaking so I had to throw it out. I also got some fresh bamboo shoot (it's in a tub in the front near the vegetables, floating in liquid) which was tasty to snack on. It reminded me of canned pineapple. I went for some frozen eel that was touted as organically farmed and it was really good over rice.