Sweet and Sour

Obscurity

Obscurity and profound.

I know it’s the big thing these days, especially amongst the blogging community to find and frequent the boulevards of Alhambra, San Gabriel, Arcadia, Monterey Park, Rosemead, Temple City, and Rowland Heights.

Find the funkiest and smelliest.
Some small place with sticky tables, as if that is the measuring stick for what defines a good meal.
Hole in the wall or give me hole in the head. Death.
Liberty is not something manifested by the properties themselves as they are auspiciously nominated as the nom nom and given the equivalent of a cheer. Pom Pom.

I love me some XLB and beef rolls and dung po pork and clay pots and sea cucumber and pork floss and Chengdong noodles and water fish and jellyfish and hand pulled noodles.

But you see, they are not these quests of Columbus. They are normal gatherings. Family affairs. Graduations.
From the inside out, it’s actually just food.
Not a find.


But “discovering” is exhilarating, I guess. Stamping it to claim it exists even though it existed already can be empowering. Imperialism.
It’s quite amazing to see the energies that swirl nowadays.
Intestines being slurped like pasta.

So in this age of the educated and adventurous diner, I chose to take it back and explore what actually used to be a fascination of mine before the renaissance of weird is good.
Americanized Chinese Food.

Oolong tea with sugar.
Pictures on the wall.
Set menus.
Thick noodles.
Gloppy sauces.
Fortune cookies!

It was always an adventure to see what was served and what was tolerable. What was considered acceptable.
It has it’s own place.
It’s actually all this country understood just until recent times, as thousands of dishes stood in stables waiting one day to be unleashed.

Obviously that day has come and America is a better and more delicious place due to it.

But what about before the dung po pork or Dan Dan noodles or even steamed fish were acceptable things to order?

So, I went to Yang Chow again, after years removed.
Magic Johnson looking down on me through framed glass.
I ordered the Mu Shu vegetable and the Lo Mein and the fried rice and the green beans and watched table after table receive plates of slippery shrimp.
It’s not the food of DSLR’s but in it’s own moment, it’s fun and anthropologic of how we once were and what we were afraid of or what cooks were holding back on. It’s unapologetic.
It’s American history.
I poured sugar in my tea and sat back in yesterday thinking about the food of tomorrow.
In that moment, Yang Chow was delicious.
Not adventurous, but it made me wonder.
So that in of itself was rewarding.
I finished my Mu Shu like a burrito and opened my fortune cookie reading it this time, believing everything to be true.

2 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour

  1. I am the first Asian girl to openly admit I love americanized Chinese food, heck I am not ashamed to admit I love Panda Express! But yang chow, yuck. I went there specifically bc that food network guy Adam something said one of the best things he ever ate was slippery shrimp. Well aside from my dumb date, the slippery shrimp was not only disappointing but down right nasty. I’d take orange chicken over that sugar shrimp dish any day! The only memorable thing about yang chow was sitting across jami gertz and her family ( I loved jersey girl!).

  2. Thank you. I’m tired of every single Mommy Blogger claiming this “amazing new Sichuan restaurant” as their own.

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