When your favorites get smaller and less packed with ingredients

Going to Chinatown since the pandemic has begun has become a little treat. It’s been a time when I can not only get as many Asian vegetables as I can conceivably carry, but I also stock up on perishables (like noodles to freeze), pantry items (bamboo shoots, coconut milk, water chestnuts). And on top of that, I like to get my favorite ready-to-eat items that feel like a treat, like doufu fa (tofu pudding), grass jelly (not all the time, but occasionally), zongzi (Chinese tamales), and nor mai gai (Chinese steamed sticky rice with chicken, mushrooms, and Chinese sausage wrapped in lotus leaf).

I went to my usual spots to pick up treats and goods, and while I stopped off at Mott 46 to pick up two nor mai gai for what Chris likes to call our “morning dinners” this weekend, I noticed that they were quite smaller than they previously were. The last time I tried to stop by, they had already sold out, so I wasn’t sure if my eyes were deceiving me, or if I just had a fake memory. But after steaming them up and opening them, I realized I wasn’t wrong: the filling inside was much lesser, from the meat to the sticky rice. And there weren’t any minced mushrooms, which I love. The price had remained the same, but the product was far less.

This sucks. It’s like when prices go up, the quantity stays the same. When prices stay the same… the quantity you get goes down. My Chinatown haul this trip, despite filling up two reusable sacks plus my backpack, felt so much sadder this time, and it seemed like I had spent more; in total, I’d spend almost $150. Chris even commented that I didn’t get that much when most of the time, he thinks I go nuts whenever I go down there. Not happy.

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