Now that I am a quarter century old even according to the lunar calendar (actually I think I'm 26 says the moon), I am officially way too old to receive the little red envelopes stuffed with benjamins that I received from family members as a child. Gone are the blissful days of emptying my crisp new cash out in my bedroom and rolling around in it like Scrooge McPanda. As an adult, I have to look a little deeper and enjoy the new year in more profound ways, such as reflecting on the past year and thinking contemplatively of the next. For my friends and me, last year was all about "living life". And we did, maddeningly so. This year, just like like growing up, makes us think beyond: the year 4706 will be about MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE.
As part of this theme, I will be returning to the motherland. I will volunteer in microfinance in Cambodia through Kiva.org. The food genius will thereby be reporting live from a variety of "exotic" Southeast Asian locations. I will also be joining the entire Pei clan in Taiwan when we descend upon this country smaller than New Jersey to surprise Grandmama Pei for her 90th birthday (SHHH, don't spill the beans)!! While there I hope to record an oral history of my grandparents, who each have treasure troves of unbelievable WWII and revolution stories buried inside of them.
One other thing that I will embark on in 4706 is a book on the Chinese diaspora as seen through food. Even here in New York, this phenomenon presents itself in interesting ways. One of my favorite ways is Peruvian-Chinese at a restaurant called Flor de Mayo. I worked at this UWS establishment (at both the 83rd and 101st St. locations) one summer when I lived in Clinton Hill and also had around 4 other jobs. I did this primarily to learn Spanish and to eat their food, but the insanity factor should also not be discounted. But I digress. The point is, the combination of Chinese and Peruvian cuisine here makes for such a perfect outcome that you start understanding why mixed-race children are seemingly always the most beautiful out of all of us...
Ensalada de aguacate
I'm not a big fan of chicken unless it's Hainan Chicken or this here roasted chicken, which tastes more or less like the way I imagine chickens want to be tasted.
Chinese Broccoli (there are always, always greens at a Chinese meal. it's all about balance.)
Don't let the blurriness fool you. I was too euphoric from the flavors of my personal favorite of squid fried rice that I couldn't focus straight. Notice how it's black. That's squid ink. mmm mmmm!
Algunos platanos, maduros, y yucas.
Oh my god, I don't even know how to describe how good these pork chops are. Trust me. They are so good that you want to drink its juices.
Ribs a la onion. Notice all the garlic. The key to my heart.
Spaghetti pesto with shrimp. I'm confused, wouldn't this qualify as Italian? Very fusiony.
One of the best cafe con leches this side of the border...
And then you wash it all down with some delightfully non-Asian but Asian nonetheless sangria! My boss Dennis taught me how they make theirs so good. Maybe if you're lucky I'll show you.
And there you have it - that's Peruvian-Chinese folks. Ta-da!! Let the year 4706, and all it's dream-fulfilling powers, begin!