mishak: (gotplur)
[personal profile] mishak
I’ve grown up eating some of the best Chinese food in the world. I don’t speak Chinese, I’ve never been to China, but I grew up in LA, and Taiwan, with side trips to Hong Kong. My parents would order from menus I couldn’t read and waiters I couldn’t understand, and I’d eat it all; I wouldn’t necessarily like all of it, but I tried it (sums up a good part of my privileged life: I did nothing to earn or deserve all this amazing stuff, my parents just served it up on a plate for me). You know that scene in Ratatouille where the food critic is gobsmacked back to his youth by the titular dish?

There’s two things that do that to me: Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings), and New Ro Mien (beef noodle soup). I have these precise, specific memories of my dad teaching me how to eat xiao long bao - put the dumpling in the soup spoon, add a couple drops of vinegar and ginger slivers, nibble an opening in the dumpling so the hot broth inside can cool down faster. Slurp the deliciousness down in one luscious big mouthful. My mom putting down a big bowl of new ro mien in front of me, typhoon season is wet and cold outside but the soup is hot and the noodles are chewy, I squirt in a dab of sriracha and stir it up, the beef tendon is meltingly tender, fragrant steam rises from the broth, fatty with beefy flavor, balanced with herbaceous greens. I believe the human brain has special food-sentimental neurons that link us powerfully to our past, to mom and dad and home and food and love. I wonder if the profound effect of these memories and sensations is a reaction to external things, like living as an adult in a scary world of responsibilities and anxieties and no easy answers. Irregardlessly, to this day I can just think of xiao long bao or new ro mien and my eyes get misty with memory, and gratitude, and everything is going to be ok.

Date: 2015-04-15 12:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jasonlizard.livejournal.com
Yum. You made my mouth water. And ruined my dinner with your memories (we ordered Chinese tonight) but that's ok.


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