I found a new formula for happiness today. First, get in an outfit that makes you feel fierce. For me, that means something pretty comfortable. I had cutoffs, an army green blouse, my trusty shades and beanie.
Then go get something unabashedly delicious and bad for you. For me, nothing beats donut holes. Lastly, walk around town holding your head high and relishing your treat. It’s as close to felling like Holly Golightly as I’ve ever gotten.
The neighborhood I walked around was slightly quieter than my old place, as seen here. No matter where you are, people will admire and envy you. Because you are hot and walking around with food! It’s the next best thing to having a cute dog.
I’m not sure if it’s just the Bay Area that has Donut/Chinese restaurant hybrids. They’re everywhere here, and my advice is to go for the donut–always the donut. But not these more authentic Chinese donuts:
I remember the very first time I bought this classic Beijing breakfast street food, on the first morning of my first trip there. In 1994, China was genuinely still the “old country.” We bought it from the side of our street from this guy squatting over a bucket of hot oil, unlike in this modern scene:
I was so excited by the grease. The prospect of food that measured up to the American junk I grew up on. They asked if we wanted ours plain, or brushed with a syrup–was there any question? We paid a few yuan for these and three plastic bags of fresh unsweetened (blech) soymilk, and headed home to share with my grandparents.
Let’s just say if there was a state fair, these donuts would be booed across the border. Even the sweet kind is too bland, and often a risky choice because vendors often use cheap and harmful artificial sweeteners in their syrup. I think the first bite sent my body into shock. A donut. That isn’t sweet. Dipped in burnt-tasting (many Chinese people prefer it that way) soymilk. Food to build a nation on, this is not.
But almost all Chinese and American-Chinese people I know love this stuff. Dipped in salty porridge or wrapped in saucy rice noodles is the only way I can tolerate it. Don’t promise me a churro and deliver a loofah. (Chinese-)Americans, keep making those yeasted and old-fashioneds. Beijingers, well, I enjoy your duck.