Food Stories

Chicken Feet

  • I used to have Chinese Dim Sum with a bunch of friends back in my college days.  We did that every Saturday or Sunday.   Among my friends, some of them are from China, Japan, Vietnam, Pakistan, and wherever.  We ordered a variety of Dim Sum dishes to share, including chicken feet.  I would eat it but I don”t have any particular liking about chicken feet.  You know, there isn”t much meat on it.  It”s more like gelatin texture.  My Pakistani friend, who grew up in the US, had never had chicken feet before, but he was willing to try.  He was the first one to eat the dish.  He put one in his mouth.  He ate the whole thing.  I mean he ate the whole thing with the bones!  He didn”t know what to do with the bones.  He didn”t know it was OK to spit the bones out.  We didn”t see any bones left on his plate. We asked him, “where are the bones?”  Then he realized those were not edible!  Stupid!!  I couldn”t remember how many times we teased him on this stupid story.  It was fun.  I could kind of understand why he ate the bones. In the western culture, people separate the bone from the meat on the plate, and then eat the meat.  No one would separate the bone inside his mouth or spit anything out!  That”s not proper manner.  In Asia, that”s a different story.   A lot of dishes are not boneless, like chicken, or fish.  It”s ok for you to grab a piece of meat with bone, put it in your mouth, and then spit out the bone.  It”s a big cultural difference!

Egg Custard

  • My sister”s college buddy is a good cook.  She used to bring desserts to my place when we hanged out.  I really love her dessert.  She made something like egg custard or flan.  She poured the caramelized sugar on the bottom of a 9-inch pie dish, add the egg custard on top, and baked it.  It was so simple, and yet so delicious.  The nice, soft, silken texture of the custard was wonderful.  So, one time, she brought her egg custard over to my place.  My neighbor, my sister and my buddy were all there.  While we were deciding how to cut the 9-inch pie of custard, my buddy said “72”.  We were all like “Huh? What?”  Then he said “72-degree”.  I was like “WOW, holy crap”.  Who would ever thought of that!  5 people, 360 degree divides by 5 = 72 degree for each piece!!!  From then onwards, every time we tried to divide a pie, we would remember this logical math method!


  • I lived with a family from Laos for one year.   My landlady and landlord have 3 teenage boys. You can imagine how noisy the house was.  You can also imagine how much food they had to stock up to feed these growing kids!  My landlady used to shop at a farmer”s market for cheaper food.  She would buy 5 or 6 chicken, tons of veggies and other stuff each time.  She got so much food at home that she needed another freezer in the basement to store all these food.  One time, her refridgerator as well as the freezer were all full.  So she got creative.  She buried some raw meat in the snow in her backyard!  Well.. not a bad idea as long as it kept the meat cold.  I was eating breakfast in the kitchen one morning, and I saw some animal outside, forgot what it was, was eating the meat!  My landlady was in the kitchen too. I said “Look!”  She screamed OMG.  She opened the slide door.   The animal got scared and went away.  She rescued her beef.  It definitely got some part chewed off.  She didn”t throw that meat out.  She used it to make Pho, a Vietnamese beef noodle soup.  I used to like her Pho, but not anymore. I politely refused to eat any of her food from that point.


Moroccan Meal

  • I don”t know much about Moroccan food.  I had Moroccan food once when my sister and I went to visit my buddy in Delaware.   My friend warned us that it is  a mult-course meal, tons of food, we should really save room and not to stuff ourselves with the appetitizer.  He mentioned that a few times, so we knew it was important.  We washed our hands.  Then each of us was given a large towel to put on our laps.  Then the food came.  There were no forks or knives.  We all ate with our hands.  All these were new to me.   While I was excited to dive in, I still remember my friend”s advice that I had to save room.  So I ate a couple of bites for the appetizer, some sort platter with veggies. The second course came, it was some dough with some meat inside. It was more than steaming hot. It almost burned my fingers when I tried to tear a small piece of it.  I may manage to eat a small piece or so., that”s pretty much it for that dish.   Then the third course came, I don”t remember what it was, but I kept saving room for the good stuff. .. and little that I know that we were having a fruit platter.  Damn it, I looked at my sister, and she looked at me back.  We didnt” say anything to each other. But I knew we did something stupid.  We kept saving room and saving room and we didn”t eat much, and the meal was almost over.  Crap!  After the fruit, the last course was a plate of bananas.  Everyone else were so stuffed while my sister and I were still hungry.  We had no choice but to fill ourselves up with bananas!

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