I recently came across one of those BuzzFeed videos that you can't avoid if you actually look at your FB feed. When they first made their appearance on the social media conveyor belt, I found them entertaining. Who doesn't love watching old Italian women trying Olive Garden for the first time? As with everything internet, the interest wanes after only a few incarnations, ultimately transforming the uncontrollable laughter into yawns and eye rolls. That is what happened to me when I came across the What It's Like To Be Ambiguously Ethnic video? Naturally, I had to click coming from a mixed race background. I sat through the entire thing thinking that they were reaching big time with this one. I didn't find it funny at all. I was, however, manipulated into an inner dialogue that was much more important than some vacuous cackling. Why is the heritage label so important? Why do we cling to identity and is identity self-defined or are we born into one? There is nothing pure about me. My parents created that paradigm shift. Ultimately, as is the case with most of my ponderation, the final thoughts were, "Why does this fucking matter?"
So now for the food part. I was hungry (this is how it usually begins...) A chocolate croissant and latte breakfast was prodding me with guilt as I wandered through the market, shopping for tonight's dinner. My niece had posted a Korean meal on FaceCrack (my BFF turned me onto that gem) last night and it made my mouth water. A simple, traditional meal called Bibimbap popped off of the screen, conjuring the feeling of home (whatever that means). I suddenly was craving Korean food. Into my basket went scallions, garlic, spinach and quinoa. Woooooahhh! What do you mean "quinoa"? Do you think they were eating quinoa in post war 1953 Korea? Of course not! It's a cultural travesty. What is this quinoa? A phonetic nightmare that has more syllables and way more nutrients than rice. How dare I infringe on my peoples' pantry?
Well, Koreans are only half my people, but that's not a legitimate argument because the other 50% didn't eat the stuff either. And that is what brings us to the catchy post title (before the parenthetical remark). Distortion is the new homogenization. I know. The paradox is deafening! If you are following any of this then please find me on social media and be my friend because we must be kindred spirits. Either way, stick around for the food part (finally...).
Vegan Quasi Korean Lettuce Wraps (always organic :)
*Gluten-free if you switch out the Soy Sauce with Tamari...
I never measure anything so be creative.
Rinsed Romaine lettuce leaves
Quinoa (I used sprouted, pretty multi-colored variety)
Toasted Sesame Oil
Rice Wine Vinegar
Toasted sesame seeds
Peel and remove seeds from acorn squash. Place in your favorite Le Creuset and add whole garlic cloves that have been smushed (this is the culinary word for taking the side of your knife and beating the garlic clove down), thickly slice scallions, sesame oil (around a tablespoon), soy sauce (a splash or two) and enough water to cover the bottom of the pain. Bring to a quick boil and then turn down to stew. Stir occasionally.
Sauté spinach in sesame oil and minced garlic. Squeeze out excess water and place in a serving bowl.
Toss asparagus in minced garlic and lightly oil. Roast in 375º oven for 10 minutes.
Cook your quinoa as directed. Lightly fluff with a fork after it has cooled a bit.
Mince a few cloves of garlic and a whole scallion.
Add soy sauce (1/4c), rice wine vinegar (1/4c) and sesame oil (1/8c).
Whisk together while adding a tablespoon of raw honey. Add some black pepper and add more of whatever you feel you need to taste.
Slice the avocado, place each of your veggies in serving bowls, make sure your rinsed lettuce is dry, and grab some Gochujang from your local Sprouts (yup...you don't have to go to Mitsuwa or Ktown for the hardcore stuff anymore). I was out of sesame seeds today but try not to forget them. Sprinkle them generously on everything (except the lettuce).
Take a leaf, filled it with everything that is on display and eat it like a taco. You are most welcome. :)
Your Hapa Bunny