Thursday, December 22, 2005

Chinese food

Food is interesting. We had Chinese food last night, at the Golden Wok in San Antonio. I shared the meal with Manahara, a concert pianist from Sri Lanka. There was a matter of etiquette when we ordered tea. The waittress brought iced tea. I said, in my most gracious manner, "Yes we are in Texas, but this is a Chinese restaurant, so we would like a pot of hot Chinese tea." [Everybody drinks iced tea in Texas, for those who need an explanation]These things can be negotiated. Manahara, who came to the U.S. when he was 14, is quite skilfull at navigating his way through the dominant culture any place in the country. I asked him how he reconciles his traditional upbringing with modern America. He said he sometimes feels mixed up and some times it is an agony, but for the most part he just deals with it. So it is for all foreigners in Texas. You must first pay homage to the national drink of Texas -- iced tea -- and then ask for what you really want. As long as nobody gets all het up about this, it works.

The food was great. I had pork lo mein, and Manahara had a stir fry. For dessert we had a sweet dimsum covered in sesame with a just-right bean paste inside. It was so good. In fact, it was the highlight of a long day.

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