Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Regret Dumplings

And you thought we were done with crazy Taiwan posts:

This one is vicarious though, pilfered from an email from James. He is back for his grandfather's funeral. Sounds like things are going well. The funeral is over, including the five hours' of chanting where monks read an entire book (no, really) to help usher Ye Ye into the afterlife.

Despite the somber occasion, James has mentioned once, twice, too many times all the things on his to-eat list. And I'm just the kind of person who resents people eating well without me.

So why lie: I felt a little better when he told me they went to Din Tai Fung, which is only the best dumpling restaurant in the world (not just my opinion, NYT said so too), and didn't get to eat any dumplings.

Muah ha ha - I'm terrible.

Turns out the "bao" in xiaolongbao (pork dumpling) combined with the "zhong" from zhong zi is a pun for regret. And so neither James nor any of his family (mom, grandma, uncle, etc.) can eat those two things for 100 days following Ye Ye's funeral. That's the traditional mourning period. They also can't wear red. I'm not sure why it wouldn't be okay to eat dumplings and zhong zi so long as you didn't eat them together...

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