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Over the Border in Vancouver

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I am Asian and so proud of it. What I am not proud of are horrific generalizations that we can’t speak right and our parents only care about our grades.

The next time I hear someone imitate Asians by pronouncing l’s as r’s and extending the “o” sound to form monkey mouths, I’ll punch him/her. Got that?

The next time I also hear someone use “Asian parents” as a term to define strict and relentless parents, I’ll ignore them. My parents are both Asian, but they are also the best parents I could ever ask for. They don’t force me to take classes over summer or demand a 4.0 GPA. They care about my quality as a person (not only as a student) more than anything and support me in whatever I do. I love them and they love me just as much.

So I’m Asian and I definitely don’t go about making a joke of it. My parents are way too cool for generalizations and so am I.

But I am extremely proud of being Asian when I go to Vancouver. Why? Who else, besides Asians, are capable of sending my taste buds to outer space with absolutely drool-worthy dishes ? Ever had cripsy, hot Chinese doughnuts dipped in sweet, fresh-off-the-stove, soy milk. Oh boy. What about some delicious chive and shrimp pockets fried to just the right degree? Oh, and top that with a dessert of Eight Treasure Rice (a generous portion of sticky rice soaked in sweet syrup with dates, red beans, and a variety of other fruits and nuts).

And so, as you have probably gathered already, I went to Vancouver the past weekend and had a blast. I also discovered my new favorite restaurant:

(photo courtesy of Chow Times)

The restaurant is beautifully decorated. Lucky for me, my very clever mother made a reservation that made the HOUR-LONG WAIT only 10 minutes for us. Ha ha, non-reservation eaters!

Chive and shrimp pockets with our lovely teapot in the background

The chive and shrimp pockets were delicious! Very unlike the ones that I normally eat in other Chinese restaurants. It is very hard to describe, but there was a certain sense of delicacy in every bite I took. The pocket was not over-crispy, but not too soft either. Each bite was heaven for me. (I’m a huge fan of chive pockets).

Soup dumplings with crab meat

These buns are called xiao long bao and are commonly referred to as soup dumplings for the soup that gathers inside the bun after steaming. And in all my years from Taiwan to Chinatown in New York to Los Angeles, I have never tasted xiao long bao with crab meat. Amazing! Delectable! Stupendous! Bravissima! The skin was soft, but just the right thickness so that the soup wouldn’t drip out and make a horrible mess. And it was real crab inside! Not just imitation crab. How do I know? Well, don’t tell anyone, but I actually found a little bit of shell in my bun. He he he..

Shredded radish pastries

My mom’s favorite. A true Shanghainese dish that my grandma made for my mom was she was young. I never got to meet my grandmother because she passed away due to cancer two years before I was born. Sometimes I watch my mom eat Shanghainese dishes and just break down into tears. So grandma, if you’re out there, this is for you. These shredded radish pastries had a crispy, crumbly shell but a warm cluster of shredded radish on the inside. Delicious, but definitely not as delicious as what you made for my Mom, grandma.

Ba bao fan (eight treasure rice or rice with eight flavors)

My absolute favorite dessert in the world. Beats anything I’ve ever baked. The last time I had this was when my mom made it some 5 years ago and tasting it again was like having a slice of heaven all to myself. Dates, raisins, cherries. I’m tearing up as I write this (I don’t even know why). But this rice dessert was truly amazing. Not overly sticky and sweet like how some other restaurants serve it. It was delicately made with a little texture of honey too. Sheer bliss.

So to sum up all the things I’ve written about in this post. Vancouver is the bomb. Shanghai River is one of the best restaurants ever (at a very reasonable price too). I love my Asian parents and my ethnicity. And Grandma, if you’re out there, I love you too.

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About Natalie C.

A college graduate in molecular biology eagerly awaiting the commencement of my quest for the luxurious yet completely impractical hood that one receives at a Doctorate graduation ceremony.

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