So I’m doing these Chinese conversation lessons with my former Chinese teacher, who, if I have not said so before, is awesome. For some reason, today I felt I could understand 95% of what she was saying, talking at normal speed, even though there were words and structures I wasn’t familiar with.
After class I was tempted by this review on Tasting Menu to stop by Yang’s Dumpling House.
I walked in, and it totally reminded me of China; the non-decorations, the two guys working in the back, the dumpling menu (dumplings, noodles, buns… not much more). They had strong northern accents, and were very 热情，very warm and friendly. They were very surprised by my Chinese, and asked me if I was ethnically Chinese. I said, no, as always, and as I usually do, I said I was Filipino. They asked when I arrived in the USA, and I said, well, I was born in the USA, but ancestral home is Philippines.
Then the cook, who spoke zero English, said to me, then you should say you’re American, not Filipino.
Oh the irony. I guess it’s cool that these guys learned them some sociopolitical identifiers before they even learned English!
I told him, yes, when I was in China people asked me which country I was from, and when I said America they always got confused, because I’m not white people. But here in Seattle everybody knows that nationality is different from ethnicity.
He smiled and went back to his hot pepper beef strips… smacking and chomping loudly. The owner put my dumplings on the table and recommended the soy sauce. I usually use vinegar and garlic, I said, and he was ELATED; he brought me half a head of garlic, peel and all. I thought, well, I usually crush my garlic, but I suppose I can nibble on it, Taiwan-style.
Steamed pork dumplings were delicious, by the way, lovely mild flavor. Not quite as cheap as in China, but what can you do.
Now that I think about it, I spoke a lot of Chinese today.
I have a lot to do to get ready for tomorrow morning, so I’ll have to blog about the Brunch Club in a later post. For now enjoy this photo of a chilaquiles casserole from Lottie’s Lounge.