One of the things that I miss the most about home (NYC) is the foods. You just can’t compare it to anywhere else in the world. NYC is home to every culture and ethnicity there is, you don’t even need to know how to speak English because you can always be certain that you will find a community from ” back home” somewhere in NYC.
What I love the most about going home is having REAL Chinese food! I love all of the Chinese vegetables that aren’t available in Iowa, and I especially love the fresh seafood that’s caught right from the Atlantic Ocean. When I am coming home, my mom always knows to get a fish to cook for my first night’s dinner. I love my mom’s fish.
One thing I love doing with my mom is going to Chinatown with her to buy groceries. She’s most comfortable in Chinatown and Flushing (Queens) because there she can find people from the same village as her from China, or from nearby villages. It’s that feeling of cultural communion with another person in a faraway land that makes my mom take a train ride into Manhattan instead of just walking a few blocks to the supermarket by the house.
So when my mom buys groceries she takes the M train into Chinatown and buys from the vendors who have their fruits and vegetables displayed in barrels and bins outside (I guess the Midwest’s version of a farmer’s market, only it’s year-round and no one selling it grew it themselves). My favorite thing about dinner shopping with my mom in Chinatown is going to the fish markets, I LOVE seeing all of the freshly caught seafood. I can’t even describe the vibrancy of it when I’m at home compare to frozen fish in a bag when I’m in Iowa.
I remember when I was little and my mom would get crabs, I’d play with them; I try picking up and poking at them to see if they’d snap their claws at me, sometimes I’d even get them out of the kitchen sink and put them on the counter to see them walk. If I was with her when she was in Chinatown to buy them, I choose one myself and it would go into the big, brown paper bag (one of the rare occasions that you don’t get a red plastic bag); during the train ride home, I’d peek into the bag to see what they were doing because I just liked watching them snap their claws and move their legs. You can’t do that with a bag of frozen, process crab in a supermarket … Food is so much fun!