Skip to main content

Soy sauce and rice

While waiting for the next game of pick-up basketball at the community center, three high school students (all white males) were discussing how one of them had a job at an Asian supermarket. They asked him if anyone spoke English at the store and stuff like that. I'm sitting maybe two feet away.

Then one of the guys, who is now a graduating senior and I've played with since a freshman, turned to me and asked -

"Don't take this the wrong way, but can I you a question?"

I love it when people say that. I looked at him, nodded (smile on my face), and braced myself (no smile inside).

"Do Chinese people eat rice with soy sauce? Because I love to pour soy sauce over my rice." The other guys murmured their agreement on how awesome of a delicacy soy sauce and rice is.

I looked at him and thought 1) I really like this kid 2) that is the most adorable and earnest question I have heard in a long time. I told him:

"No. Chinese people don't do that. Soy sauce is a dipping sauce or a seasoning for a dish but you don't pour it over plain rice and then eat it. That's a white people thing. Personally, I think its disgusting." (I was trying to think of the best metaphor and of course, it occurs to me afterwards - its like putting ketchup on a hot dog bun and eating that. Ketchup is for the meat.)

From there, we had a fun discussion about what exactly Chinese people do with soy sauce, what is authentic Chinese food (not Panda Express), why when people speak Chinese it sounds like they're yelling at each other (its just how it is - Italians sound like that too). I love it when people have the courage to ask those kinds of questions. I think many of us Asians make it tough for non-Asians to ask these kinds of questions at risk of offending us - which is always a possibility. But its neat when someone is just really earnest like that.


Popular posts from this blog

A Dad's Review of Passport 2 Purity

[3,100 words, 11 minute read] The sex talk is one of the most dreaded conversations parents anticipate having with their children. To make things easier, an entire industry exists to help parents with sex education. Dozens of books have been written to help parents navigate this treacherous topic with their progeny. One of the best known among evangelicals is called the Passport 2 Purity Getaway package . It is produced by FamilyLife, a division of Cru (former Campus Crusade for Christ) and consists of a five lecture CD package including a journal and exercises designed as a weekend retreat for a pre-pubescent child and his/her parent(s). Passport 2 Purity was not my initiative. Our trip came about because Judy had heard from several home-schooling mom friends how they had taken their daughters on a road trip to go through the CDs. She even heard how a mom took a trip with husband and two sons to through the curriculum. So a couple months ago, Judy suggested we take our two older boy

Why Asians Run Slower

My brother got me David Epstein's book The Sports Gene . It is a fascinating quick read. If you're interested in sports and science, it will enthrall you.  I finished it in three days. Epstein's point is that far more of an athlete's performance is due to genetics than due to the so-called "10,000 hour" rule promulgated by books such as Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin (both which are very good). The 10,000 hour rule states that any person can reach expert level of performance in a sport if they devote 10,000 hours of deliberate and intentional practice.  That's a lot of hours. Most people aren't capable of anywhere close. And that's precisely Epstein's point. Someone who devotes 10,000 hours of sport-specific practice is likely genetically gifted for the sport in extraordinary ways AND genetically gifted in their ability to persevere and benefit from practice. Therefore, a person who can pra

Unsolvable Problems in Marriage I: Lowering Expectations

Different expectations of conflict From a recent Facebook post: Working on a post about unsolvable problems in marriage: For those who have been married five or more years, on a scale of 1 to 10, how much expectation did you have entering into marriage that communication could resolve any conflict between you and your spouse? How would you rate that expectation now? People often enter into marriage thinking that most if not all their conflicts can be resolved. Women come into marriage thinking "I can make my husband a better man". Men come into marriage thinking, "My wife will learn to see things my way". This idealistic view of marriage does not survive contact with the enemy. Even for couples for whom the first years of marriage are conflict-free, raising children is its own brand of unsolvable problem. And then there's sickness and mental health issues, job changes, unemployment, moving, and shifts in friendships. Conflict in marriage is inevitable. A number