Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year by using the easy-to-comprehend Western Alphabet.

Well I hope everyone has ushered in the New Year by scaring off a mythological, noise sensitive, child eating beast that lives under the sea. Now for starters, I never celebrate the Chinese New Year... Why would I? Number one... I am a white. Number two... because I am a white. However this year was different. I don't know if it is because I am living in San Fran where the Asian population is 33.3% states the Census Bureau. That may not seem super high but thats the third highest out of the top three, and the two before that are White, and White (non-hispanic) -- whatever the difference is between those two, please let me know. The Asian population in St. Petersburg, FL is 3.2%. and 2.4% in the WHOLE state. In the whole state of California, you still have 13% is the Asian population. So I would surely say that is a big percentage for a minority population in a city.

So on top of San Francisco being so diverse with Asians. I also have the pleasure of living a hop skip and a jump away from the historic China Town. So originally I thought that was the reason for always seeing Asians. My Hostel was located right in china town. Then my home is a 5-8 minute walk from China Town. Until one day when I was riding the bus and the intercom goes off and it talks in english, and next my mind is prepared to hear spanish. Naturally it is what you normally hear, and born and raised in Florida, Spanish is second nature to you if you speak it or not. Well was I confused when Chinese or Mandarin or whatever comes on the intercom followed by Spanish.

Another thing is at my firm, all the work we do is over in China. Today I was fixing some redlines in the computer and when we label anything in English it needs to be labeled in Mandarin as well. We have 3 woman of Asian decent that work for us and do translations. Well today I was thinking I really need to learn some of this. I mean even if I can't speak it, or write out long sentences but as long as I know some of the basic words and the symbols that we use on a daily basis. I hate having to make them stop their work to go through and fill in tags that I don't know. So I haven't figured out what is going to come from this, but I need to learn something, and I need to learn it quick.

So this week and the next is the Chinese New Year. And I had decided that I was going to get into the spirit a bit by eating Chinese all week. So I looked up some of the traditional foods you eat on Chinese New year, and I didn't get any of them. But I still have time. =]

One of the traditions is the more dumplings you eat during the celebrations, the more money that will come to you through the New Year. Of coarse this is the one thing I haven't eaten. But lets see... The first night I had this place in mind. I found it on Yelp, and it had great reviews, a dirty shit hole, but good food. Now I'm not a big Chinese food person. I honestly prefer Spanish... but if I'm going Asian I love me some Thai. Anyways, I walk to this place Monday night after work, and what a shock... they are closed. So I figure okay I cant blame them, I expected it. I look up on my phone, and I am just not feeling anywhere else. I refuse to go home empty handed though. So I walk to the Golden Gate Bakery that has the "Best" Egg Tarts around. Great reviews on Yelp. So I go in this little place where there are 3 Asian ladies behind a counter bumping into each other trying to fulfill orders of the crowd that is started to form. This place is tiny, only about 3 people could stand inside at once, and even then you couldn't see the pastries. I ordered 5 Egg Tarts and a Chicken Roll thing. I figured I cant just have custard for dinner. Or can I?

So for those of you that do not know what an Egg Tart is, well you are missing out. I am not a big custard or pudding girl and these things are so scrumptious that every time i see a person walking down the street with a pink box I want to knock it from their hands and run off with it.

Now the egg tart is sweet, but the custard is made with egg and you can clearly taste it. They are so simple and amazing. Not overly sweet, but overly addicting. So the first night of Chinese New Years I celebrated with a box of egg tarts till I gave my self a tummy ache. I wrote my house mates a little note encouraging them to help them selfs to some delectable treats. 

Tuesday night I decided I was going to get my Chinese food. I walked back to the restaurant and went inside. Wow talk about legit. They had animals cooked and hanging in the air. This pissed off duck wouldn't break eye contact with me. A Chinese man was behind the counter butching away at a slab of pig. I couldn't understand anything he said. I wanted crispy pork, and I went home with Sweet and Sour chicken. Must be because once again -- I'm a white. But it was good, I paid 4 bucks and had 2 meals. You cant beat that. I paid more for 5 egg tarts, and a chicken roll chinese empanada thing. 

Last on the Asian food binge is these little guys -- Pineapple Cakes. We got a box at work with Pineapple and Melon. I've never been a fan of Melon but I bet they are just as good if you swing that way. So this is the entire cake. You flip it over and it has a gold piece of tape across the back. You peel off the tape and the box flaps spring open revealing a little cake the exact size of the box. The cake park is kinda dry not super moist but the inside is filled with a pineapple filling, not too sweet, just perfect.  They are the perfect size for a tasty sweet bite of cake after lunch. It cheers your taste palette up and doesn't leave you with the afternoon sleepys. 

Needless to say this has been an eventual week, with Asian foods. I might continue the trend for the next few days. It is fun to try new things. When in San Francisco, do as the San Franciscoians. My time here will expire before I realize it. At least I am making the most out of my experience that my imagination will allow. 

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