At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Thursday, October 08, 2015


Lunch was exceptionally excellent! Glutinous rice in bamboo leaf, daan bing, and a chicken bun. Yes, an absence of vegetables, but realistically who the heck expects vegetables during lunch?

Oh wait, some people think vegetables ARE lunch. There's a place with a snooty French name on Sacramento right below Kearny street which has salad for twelve dollars. Snooty salad. They probably loathe their neighbors the Cantonese, and look down upon normal Americans.

"Ve are Frantch; ze salad is ze acme of kvee-seen!"

Yeah, something like that. My salad-free lunch was, including coffee, around six bucks. The glutinous rice packet had pork and lok dau, and was absolutely perfect. Compact, glistening inside its fragrant wrapping, and smoothly dense.

Glutinous rice with meat steamed inside a lotus-leaf cone (粽 'jung'; joong) is both travel and convenience food, a quick lunch, and a great home comfort food. It is richly evocative, and has a place deep within the soul.
It is beloved, and worthy of song.

"Tzu bi, tzu nan, daai mia lang; pe-bu pua lai, chin ha tang; hu gwa be sz gwe ch tang ....."

Hokkien-speakers might instantly recognize the lyrics of a famous Taiwanese ballad there about a miserable childhood of studying hard amidst familial tragedy and hardship, and selling joong to survive.
Specifically, roast meat joong.

[自悲自嘆歹命人,父母本來真疼痛;乎我讀書幾多冬,出業頭路無半項;暫時來賣燒肉粽 。燒肉粽,燒肉粽,賣燒肉粽!]

In the lips of the immortal Kwek Kim-hoat (郭金發), it was a tearjerker of distinction.

"Sio baa tsang, sio baa tsang; bwe-e-e sio ba tsang."

Yeah, no, not the Cantonese pronunciation. I do not know if the Cantonese sing about joong ("tsang"). They probably do, but I've never heard their song.
There's also a version with peanuts and roast pork, and I am told that white vegans do it with gmo-free tofu (or mashed chickpeas for the allergics, and sensitive folks) and quinoa.
Haven't tried their version, it ranks with tofurky on my bucket list.
I'll get to it eventually, when forced by a hysteric person.
Real joong is terrific with a touch of soy sauce.

All around me, crazy-ass white people are eating salad, brown rice, and soy-free substitutes for tofu, but not in Chinatown.

Wheatless spicy vegan sausage crumbles!

And snooty French salad.

Good lord, folks.

Politically incorrect food is yummy and nutritious. Just need to throw that out there. Meat, hot animal grease, bloody protein, and the suffering little lambs who all had faces once. Dressed with soy sauce, garlic, and high-gluten something or other.

Okay, enough of the food-rant, now for the pathos.


When I was lighting my pipe after leaving the eatery where I had enjoyed my sensible lunch, I became aware of pained and angstig wailing, nay, sobs both uncontrollable and borderline frightening in their intensity.

Deep, emotional, and betraying a horrifying sense of despair.

I have no idea what had upset the little girl.

But she was totally sincere.

There is something operatic about Cantonese women when they let it all out. Unrestrained weeping and self-torture, coupled with any and all sense of decorum thrown to the wind, the devil with what my family will say, let me go, piss off, and leave me alone!

In a six year old without the adult tools to deal with "it", but with all the emotional clockwork fully functional, it can be utterly adorable.

She was a beautiful child, made much more so by her misery. Very tiny, but her school uniform showed that she was already at that age when life starts turning complicated (letters, numbers, and characters of more than five strokes), and the concerns of a new world of classmates and learning weigh heavily upon one.

Actually I am just guessing here, I don't know.

It was all hopeless, hopeless!

I couldn't understand a word she said, and I didn't want to seem a snoop. So I just observed her auntie being patient albeit not entirely understanding, and then crossing the street with her and her brother, carrying the little girl's Hello Kitty backpack for her. Her brother may have already been in second grade, and seemed wiser, more mature, and blandly insensitive to his little sister's troubled state, as little boys frequently are. He may have been the indirect (or deliberate) cause of it.
Far too studiously innocent.
Probably said something.

From Stockton and Sacramento down to Grant, she was still fiercely and passionately tragic. The three of them moved slow enough, what with the drama, that by ambling down to Waverly Place on the north side of the street I could keep pace with them.

They disappeared from view right around the entrance to Nam Kue School (南僑學校 'naam kiu hok haau') just past Grant Avenue.
Maybe it was the prospect of Chinese classes after regular school that had her so upset. Her little friends probably had at least one or two hours of play ahead of them (being no doubt bad girls from disreputable families), but she was being robbed of that freedom!
It was SO unfair!

Again, I am still guessing. The Cantonese female can become obsessed with equitability and fairness, both of which must be personally perceived and experienced. Unequal treatment of them results in fierce resentment. Which may lead to unrestrained wailing.

And she seemed like a very sweet kid, merely upset at the injustice.
There was a principled quality to her despair.

Yep. Quite adorable.

I'm a softie.

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