It all started when I was 2 years old. My love story with food starts with a single abalone that captured my heart…and my taste buds. My Mom always loves to tell this story at dinners to recount the memory over and over again. The story goes like this – we were in Hong Kong at a birthday celebration and true to birthday celebration dinners, they served abalone to each guest. I was lucky enough to get one as well. But my Mother, again not wanting me to start young with expensive food, told my Grandmother to take it away from my plate and eat it herself. For whatever reason, I understood that MY abalone was going to be taken away from me, I stubbornly placed one finger on top of the abalone, and refused to let my Grandmother take it away from me. From that day on, abalone has been my favorite Chinese seafood of ALL time. If there is any chance of anyone serving abalone, I am SOOOOO there.
Then came my love for shark’s fin soup. I was 5 years old when I had my first taste. Again, I was hooked!!! It was in Taipei during a Chinese New Year visit. We went out for dinner with friends and again, I was given a bowl of shark’s fin. My Mom tried AGAIN to deny me! Now you know my next move right? I refused to give up my bowl of shark’s fin and proceeded to not only drink one bowl but three bowls of it.
I think the only time I was able to be tricked into anything is my Apple Cider story. Apple Cider is a very popular drink in Taiwan and I used to look forward to my visits with my grandparents so I could get this drink whenever we went out for dinners. At the time, my step-grandfather loves to drink Henessy XO. He would bring his own bottle to every dinner and serve it to everyone in tiny little shotglasses. He didn’t want me to feel left out. Instead, he would order Apple Cider for me and pour it into a shotglass and give it to me pretending I was getting the same drink as everyone else. The color was similar enough and I loved the taste and got tricked into it every time until I was old enough to realize that they were drinking hard liqour!!! Now, luckily, I don’t have to run to Taiwan for Apple Cider. They sell it here in the US as well. I go to my local Ranch 99 and viola…Apple Cider galore!!!
So these stories represent my first taste of exotic and expensive food. The rest as they say? Is H-I-S-T-O-R-Y!
Happy Chinese New Year everyone and wishing you all a wonderful Year of The Tiger. Check back after the weekend for my blog on Chinese New Year Festivities and Food!!! Enjoy!