My long overdue virgin visit to Pacific Mercantile—the downtown Asian grocery, not the bank—with Petey yielded, if not the nem chua I’m still seeking, myriad other delights to be revealed bit by bit.

Salditos—dried, salted plums—weren’t one of them, however. Not even close.

These, kids, are salditos.


These are rose rocks.


Turns out the striking resemblance is not at all coincidental, as the former indeed might as well be iron-heavy aggregates of barite & sand for all you can bite into them without cracking many a veneer.

They are also salty as the walls of hell.**

Digging for the dirt on these buggers on Chowhound, I was dismayed to find they were as they should have been—&  thus a taste acquired in toddlerhood or not at all.

I’ve yet to admit defeat, mind you. I’ve been soaking them in water; I’m going to add a little something to the liquid—vinegar? juice?—& give them one more chance to bloom into actual roses for the mouth. Wish me luck.

**You know, the ones surrounding pits of fire, so the walking wounded are eternally caught between, to put it mildly, a rock & a hard place. I’m guessing.