My classmate Liang from China held a clandestine oriental dinner the other night. It served as a farewell dinner for the Global Studies students (sort of our ‘sister program’) who are leaving for South Africa today where they will spend their next semester.
Hyun represented Korea who tossed us glass noodles with vegetables. She has stayed in the Philippines, and confided it was her version of the Filipino-Chinese dish pancit. Next time I look forward to eating kimchi. Giovanna from Italy owes us some pasta and pizza for bringing beers. A couple of ladies from the earlier batch of my program also joined us, Sunae, also from Korea, and Elena from Russia.
With me I clutched a ‘green bag’ that contained the seasonings and spices, securing it like a scroll wherein the secret recipes of man’s gastronomic salvation are written. The dish I prepared is probably one that I could call my national dish- the adobo. Despite its Spanish-sounding name, it is as Filipino it could get. Make no substitute for its base ingredients of soy sauce and sugar cane vinegar from the Philippines. It took one hour for the meat to simmer to fine tenderness. Giovanna snatched a bite from my pot of adobo, and cried out loud as the flavors exploded in her mouth. I told her to get her hands off it before she consumes everything even before we start our dinner.
And what is oriental food without noodles? We had a generous serving of which a la Korea and China. Some fried tofu with a dash of chili served as our appetizer. For dessert, we had uh, Rafaello. It’s origin may be far from the orient. The sweets were coconut flavor, so maybe that passes as something Asian.
A group of three Chinese students taking up a business course were also in the kitchen making some dumplings. At first, I thought they would be joining us for our feast. It turned out it was just a coincidence that they were preparing some Chinese cuisine. It took them an hour to chop and mix the filling, and another hour to wrap it and cook in boiling water. I chatted In the end it was worth the wait. They gave us a plateful of the results of their hard work and I gobbled down a piece of the dumpling faster than you can say xie xie. Don’t you just love Asians?
Special thanks to Asian shops that make these gatherings possible.