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Catherine Street Meat Market
In a Chinatown ripely scented with dried fish and other market edibles, this store in the shadow and rumble of the Manhattan Bridge is a pristine shrine to meat in its myriad forms. Beautifully displayed standard butcher's merchandise like chicken, pork, and beef shares the refrigerated place of honor with skinned oxtails, halves or quarters of goats with pork tongue and tripe while Chinese sausages and canvas-wrapped Smithfield-style hams hanging on the back wall. Barrels stand open, offering bones to enrich soups and stocks. The shop also sells fresh and frozen dumplings, fish balls (of shrimp, cuttlefish and combinations with beef or pork) for poaching in soup, and a half-dozen varieties of fresh and dried noodles. Home cooks planning a Chinese feast will want to try the fresh-ground meatball mixtures, such as chicken seasoned with pork and black beans, and choose among the wonton skins, satay-sauce mixes and other supporting players lining the shelves. It's Citarella-style presentation at downtown prices, a tempting combination for adventuresome shoppers.Extra
A conversation in English is relatively rare here; the smiling butchers and counter help speak only a few words, and can't translate the signage, which is nearly all in Chinese. Point-and-pay commerce is the rule, unless you or a companion speak the language.