About a year ago, my good friends Jandro and Allison introduced me to Dua Belibis. (That’s Dua for short. We’re on a first-name basis. Never mind that “Dua Belibis” means “Two Ducks,” and as a nickname, “Two” is daft. But I digress.) Allison and Jandro had gotten theirs from Vishnu, who is married to a woman from Indonesia, which is where Dua Belibis comes from. I lost my heart to Dua instantly.
Thicker, fruitier, sweeter, hotter-per-gram, and way garlickier than the wildly popular sriracha, Dua Belibis is perhaps not for everyone. When it comes to getting the stuff out, Dua’s bottle is more crazy-making than a ketchup bottle. It comes out in either tiny, wimpy blobs or giant, incendiary blobs, and you inevitably get a gummy red collar of crusty sauce by the neck about midway through. Plus, it’s impossible to find, or so I thought till last week.
I had already combed the shelves of every Asian grocer in my area and shown the bottle to the regretful proprietors. I had done the Internet search. I was down to my last hard-to-dislodge 1/8-inch of Dua, which I was conserving by means of trying not to cook the things I like eating it with: fried rice, dumplings, chili, noodles. This self-imposed and untimely Lent was obviously unsustainable.
But this weekend, while tromping round the Bay with my son while in between readings of A Spoonful of Promises, I discovered the New Mei Wah supermarket on Clement St. A behemoth of a shop, I thought at first it was one of those Asian markets that looks like it’s going to have everything, but actually has nothing you want. But as it turns out, New Mei Wah is one of those Asian markets that looks like it’s going to have everything and actually does.
At least, it has Dua Belibis, right there in the Indonesian section. As to the rest, who cares?
Since Dua comes in bottles greater than 3 oz., there was no question of getting it onto an airplane. Prevailing upon the patience of my hosts, who drove me into Chinatown the next day, I went to the Stockton Street post office and mailed my Dua home. The postage was about $10, which is more than 4 times the price of a bottle of Dua.
Do you have any doubt that it was worth it?