An Asian In America
Lakpa Guta, Winner
Whoever thought Asia could be so magnificent? Even though I was born in Nepal, I came to San Francisco when I was only five years old. Last summer, I went to China. To tell you the truth, it was the food that tempted me back to Asia.
Let’s start from the beginning. Living in Asia was difficult. I never remember meeting my mother and my dad was always working. My brother and sister were older than I. We were poor. That meant hand-me-down clothes. But nothing stopped us from eating great food. My dad owned a Momo restaurant. My earliest memory was stuffing delicious dumplings into my mouth. When my dad couldn’t take care of all three of us kids, his youngest child (that’s me) was put up for adoption.
I moved to San Francisco with my adoptive mother Kathryn. I didn’t speak any English. I didn’t have any friends. I wondered what I would eat. My first hamburger seemed so dry. Luckily, I continued to be surrounded by Asian food. I live next to Eric’s Chinese restaurant and above Kama Sushi Japanese restaurant in Noe Valley. My favorite foods at Eric’s are fried rice, chow mein, and pot stickers. The pot stickers remind me of my dad’s momos. My favorite foods at Kama Sushi are california rolls, spicy tuna rolls, and their nabeyaki udon (seafood mixed with noodles). I love noodles.
Last summer, my school sponsored a trip to China. Of course I wanted to see the Great Wall but mostly I wanted to eat the food. I had a hunch that Chinese food would taste even better in China and I wasn’t disappointed. We made noodles, dined on duck and ate lots of fried rice. It was a great experience. I got to see how my favorite foods were made and why they tasted so wonderful. Asian food in America is good, but when you get it from its place of origin, It tastes so much better!
I can’t remember much about my early life in Nepal. It feels like such a long time ago. People sometimes ask what it was like and I tell them about the rice, momos, chicken, curry, hot sauce, and so on. As well as food, I tell them about other memories. For instance, I remember being pelted by tiny pebbles of hail. Ouch, they hurt! When it was not hailing, my brother, sister and I would play soccer with our bare feet. We didn’t know what shoes were. When I go through old photos and see my brother and sister, I sometimes wish I could go back and visit. Even if I can’t get on a plane, I’ve found that I can travel across oceans and continents in just a few bites! When I eat Asian food, it makes me feel like I’m back in Nepal with my family. Food helps me remember where I’m from. It gives me a strong identity and a strong body too.