I like having default things – default favorite color, favorite food, favorite book, favorite movie – and I don’t step far out of those boundaries. Moving from Illinois to California hasn’t shaken most of those, but it has changed my food boundaries.
For the most part, it’s been different Asian foods. Before I came here, I never knew of the existence of niangao, a Shanghainese, stir-fried rice cake dish. We use rice cake, or “dduk,” a lot in Korean cuisine. There’s rice cake soup, or ddukgook, and spicy rice cakes, or ddukbokki. I was intrigued to see rice cakes, in the shape used in rice cake soup, in another cuisine. I’ve been wanting to try this for at least 1.5 terms, after hearing raving reviews from some upperclassmen. Two weeks ago, I was walking back from Teaspots with some people in my a cappella group, when a car stopped by (John from Avery, champion of niangao) and asked if we wanted to come get dumplings. I shrugged and joined, and was delighted to learn that the dumpling place (Juicy Dumpling in San Gabriel) also had niangao. It was delicious!