Whenever I think about what I wanted to do when I started out in journalism, I think of stories like this:
From reserving a banquet room at a highly coveted Chinese restaurant to ordering the three-layer wedding cake with pink icing, Daniel Ha made sure everything was perfect on his wedding day.
But perhaps the most important detail was planned in consideration of his tradition-minded Chinese parents: He got married before the upcoming Chinese New Year.
That’s because the Year of the Rooster, which starts Wednesday, features a lunar anomaly: It lacks a day that marks the beginning of spring, known in Chinese as lichun. Spring symbolizes new beginnings and passion, believed in Chinese custom to lead to a heartfelt union and many children.
For the superstitious, the Rooster year is an ominous time to tie the knot. In parts of China, newspapers have been breathlessly reporting tales of couples rushing to get married before the so-called “widow year” begins.
But in the large Chinese American communities of the San Gabriel Valley, the “year of the widow” poses something of a dilemma for young couples, many of whom are skeptical about the superstitions but don’t want to offend their elders who do believe.
I’ve met the reporter David Pierson before, at job fairs and journalism conventions – unlike what his name might suggest, he is Chinese. Although, I can’t recall right now if he speaks Mandarin or Cantonese. Anyway, when I thought about marrying my journalism and Asian American studies degrees, the end product – I thought – would be stories like these. But apparently, I’m still cutting my teeth on community beat stories. Not that I don’t like it – I just feel impatient to do the things I dreamed about doing in college.
On another note, my coworker Mark Madler often sets aside the Times Food Section for me because I love to complain about it. I’ve even gone so far as to write a note to the Food editor, asking them why they never do any stories, catering to the racially and socioeconomically diverse communities of Los Angeles County. She had replied, saying they had some Asian restaurant reviews coming up. Lol. I guess she didn’t really get it. My thinking was, why not do stories on the cooking practices of the young, single, poor and multi-employed? Or the older, more worldly population? Anyway, I was still excited to see this story in the Times this weekend (as I was waiting at the drive-thru at El Pollo Loco, thanks very much):
Asian Noodles bills its style as “Manila fusion,” which may be a bit redundant because Filipino food is fusion by definition. Influenced predominantly by Spain, which controlled the islands for more than 300 years, the cuisine has also been marked by Chinese traders and settlers, a Malay heritage and the United States, which took over from Spain in 1898.
The cafe offers traditional Filipino dishes such as adobo, the vinegary stew that is often called the national dish of the Philippines; kare-kare, an oxtail and vegetable stew with a smooth peanut butter sauce; and marinated grilled meats.
Chinese-accented dishes such as steamed buns and seafood-noodle combinations are a mainstay too. And the desserts include some of the best fried bananas in town.
Servings are generous, prices low: This is great food to linger over when chatting with friends, just right for the young, casual crowd that frequents the room at night.
Moonie has invited the Flavor Online crew to eat here a couple of times, but I never got a chance to go. I’ve never been, but have been meaning to check it out. At least, I don’t think I’ve ever been – I did go to one restaurant one time with my friends Mel and Iliki, and it was in the same general area as Asian Noodles, so maybe I have….but I’m not sure. Anyway, I sure would have loved to do a story like this one, too.
Instead, I’m doing stories like this. I saw this story on the wire at about 4:50 p.m., doing my usual trolling on the wires (I like to read the stories on the wires) and mentioned it. My new city editor Ryan Carter (he used to be my fellow biz/politics reporter less than a year ago!) jumped up and quietly got me assigned to the story. *sigh* Lol. What are you going to do…..heh, I muttered, “I shoulda kept my big mouth shut.”
It was a difficult story to report, seeing as how the courts close at 4:30 p.m., and not being able to get any Metrolink officials who could comment on the phone. But considering I was barely able to get anything, I think I still pulled together a decent story. But actually, I would have rather done the follow up story.