Posts Tagged ‘chinese food’

26th January
2009
written by Steph

Sigh.  My first book read for this year’s Tournament of Books, was fairly atrocious, so despite the rocky start, I was at least optimistic that the next book would have to be better.  It’s the law of averages!  So I picked up Fae Myenne Ng’s Steer Toward Rock, and dove in hoping I was going to land in a somewhat deeper pool. Steer Toward Rock is largely about a Chinese man name Jack Moon Szeto who, during his youth, is sold into another family so that they can have a son.  When he is older, he is sent to San Francisco so that he can work off his debt to his non-blood father, and also act as a decoy husband for the second wife said father wants to also bring into America (hoping to get a true blood son out of her).  This is around the time of the Chinese Confession Program, when the INS were trying to weed out individuals who had lied to bring other Chinese immigrants into the country, and when Chinese immigrants were treated extremely poorly.  The novel examines the trials and tribulation of Jack, primarily focusing on his relationships with three pivotal women in his life: Joice, his first love; Ilin, his fake wife; and Veda, his daughter by Joice.  It examines what an individual is willing to undergo for love, as well as the role of family (both in terms of one that is formed versus one that we are tied to through blood), and of course the immigration experience and the struggles to habituate as well as the struggle for later generations to understand their heritage.  Through this exploration, Steer Toward Rock also addresses the issue of self-identity. (more…)
21st November
2008
written by Steph
I was recently in Chicago for a conference (I'm kind of composing a post on the topic (of Chicago, not the conference, which can really be summed up with the following descriptor: "Grade 4 Science Fair"), but who knows if I'll actually decide to post it), and one of the highlights of the trip was trekking out to China Town (this time 100% gunshot free!) to grab some authentic Chinese food. Chinese food is fairly difficult to come by here in Nashville - well, let me qualify that by saying that *good* Chinese food is hard to find here. Japanese? Sure (in fact the best sushi I've ever had has been here in town)! Thai? Middling, but serviceable. Korean? Yup. But Chinese? No dice. So when I'm in a city that does have it (and better yet, has dim sum!)? I'm all over it. Anyway, I had super cheap, but super delicious beef with black bean sauce over rice noodles, and the first bite was gustatory heaven. It sounds like a terrible comparison, but it rocketed me back to the summer between my 2nd and 3rd years of undergrad, when I was technically a full-time student because of all the courses I was taking, meaning I was on campus 4 nights a week, over the dinner hour. Every so often, I would get dinner from the Chinese food truck that parked outside of Sid Smith, and get that very dish. So smoky, a hint of grease (but not oily), and beef so succulent and tender, I assumed it could only be achieved by a much more skilled chef than I. Which brings me to tonight, when I decided to whip together a cashew chicken stirfry for dinner. I think I make a decent stirfry, but I always feel like it tastes homemade rather than authentic. Tonight, all of this changed, when I discovered two important secrets: (more…)