Monday, December 26, 2022

A HOMETOWN OF THE MIND

During cold wet weather, it is comforting to have 菜脯蛋 ('choi pou daan'; pickled radish omelette). But it isn't on the menu of the restaurant where I went for a late lunch, and I wasn't going to go to any effort to find it today, given that most restaurants won't have it on the menu. It's almost entirely home food. Pickled radish (菜脯 'choi pou') can be easily found in C'town, so I'll look for it tomorrow when grocery shopping. Adding it to steamed fish is good, and it has plenty of other uses. It can be added to pork dishes for a textural effect.
If using the salty kind, rinse it to remove excess salt.
If the sweet kind, that's still a good idea.

For each egg, one heaping tablespoon (or more) choi pou, one scallion finely chopped, a fine grind of pepper. Beat with a splash of water, omelettify in a pan. Do not overcook, you don't want tough eggs. Serve with congee or over plain rice.

What I had for lunch instead was 菜脯魚香茄子米 ('choi pou yü heung ke ji mai'; pickled radish and fish sauce eggplant rice noodles). Also comfort food, very home town.

Plus plenty of sambal, and a hot cup of milk tea.
Given that I was born in a hospital that no longer exists in Southern California and we moved overseas when I was two, and my parents were also overseas Americans, I don't really have a home town. While I was a child I lived in Blaricum, Naarden, and Valkenswaard. I've been in San Francisco, where my mother lived during her teenage years and twenties and where her dad was an officer on the base, for over three decades, all that time in the vicinity of Chinatown. Which is, in a large part, what I think of as my hometown.

My "hometown" has good food and good people.


Pipe afterward, as you would expect. A mixture of blonde Virginia and aged red flake, rubbed out, with small percentages of firecured and Perique.
After I returned home it started raining. Which will probably continue till late in the morning tomorrow. I look forward to going out again. Real food, no tourists, milk tea, smoke.

First smoke of the day might be a bit of a problem.
Probably still raining when I get up.



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