Tribulation of a Timid Taiwanese Trainee-Chef - Episode 8
Well, well, well, what a time to be Asian/Asian-American, isn’t it? I watched Crazy Rich Asians during opening weekend and have been reading all the think pieces and articles that I can find. I enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would, considering I was felt just okay about the book, and generally don’t like rom-coms. Of course, no good thing (Asian representation, etc etc) is possible without negative things and coming up (exacerbating the rich Asian stereotype, etc etc) but smarter people than me have expressed their opinions in more eloquent ways so I will direct you to those writings (Asian-Americans Are Cultural Orphans (aka I hope Crazy Rich Asians isn’t a flop), ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,’ and the Growing Pains of Representation, and separately, this personal article that made me really hungry: Crying in H Mart). I also read Pachinko in like, three days because I was so into the book.
Although it was nice to see all the good looking Asians in Crazy Rich Asians reveling in acting with other Asians, I personally also really liked Set It Up which stars Lucy Liu as one of the main characters, and although there is mention of her favorite food being Korean BBQ, there’s not really much else made of the fact that she was Asian. It was just sort of taken for granted that a minority female could be the CEO of a successful sports journalism site and that was refreshing in its own way. Sometimes it’s nice when the extraordinary things aren’t explicitly mentioned – to normalize them in a way that hopefully will really make it the status quo in the future.
This month I made another side dish – one that goes well with rice, also noodles (like beef noodle soup!) The translation of suancai (酸菜) is just sour vegetables, and more adventurous people than I could attempt to pickle their own vegetables, but I just bought a pre-pickled one from Ranch 99. In the recipes I saw it looks like they use mustard greens and they call this “Chinese sauerkraut”. I do also enjoy sauerkraut on my hot dogs so it’s no surprise I like this.
We started by soaking off some of the pickle juices, for about 30 minutes. To expedite the chopping of the vegetables after the soaking, we separated the vegetables into strips before putting them into water to soak. Minced garlic goes into the pan first, followed by a few chopped chilis. The only seasoning needed is sugar, since the vegetables are sour and salty enough on their own.
And that’s it! So easy. Maybe an odd taste to some, but for me, it tastes like home.