This goes without saying, but I had an excellent (even better than that) time visiting my family in California. Beautiful Orange County was the least of my concerns when I received the go-ahead by my parents saying that I could visit my grandparents and cousins over my Spring Break. Although I physically stayed at my Mama and Papa's house, I still spent time (daily, of course) with my two younger girl cousins along with my Aunt and Uncle. A great time led to even greater memories, and I couldn't have been any happier to have visited them.
During this trip, I mostly focused (besides the obvious quality time) on cooking and learning from Mama. We made (above photos in order from left to right, top to bottom) her famous Ohn No Kauk Swey (which is essentially a chicken curry with noodles), her exotic Saffron Rice, my ultimate favorite Taro in Coconut Milk, and a Beef Stew thing with Rice Noodles (with the help of my Aunt, of course).
We can't forget about the two chocolate desserts I baked with my little cousins. The flourless chocolate cake was decadently rich and sinful, whereas the box cupcakes on the other hand was more aesthetically pleasing than tasty.
But where all this cooking and baking nonsense came from was me informing them of my new found love of food. To prove this (because they would believe me no other way) I brought a batch of cookies (one chocolate chip and one oatmeal raisin) and a bunch of blondies over, which just so happened to be the sweetest assurance they needed.
Now I obviously didn't live off one batch of Chicken Curry and a bunch of cupcakes. Mama, typical to her nature, continued to cook (even when I wasn't present) my entire stay. Two especially tasty dishes was this cellophane noodle conglomerate with tasty additions (left) and also this different type of fried rice (right).
But what kind of bad grandchild would I be by forcing my grandmother to teach me how to cook every hour of every day? Not a very good one. This is why we did occasionally leave the house for random adventures (mostly led by food, of course).
I'm a Boba Tea freak. I drink it any chance I get, and I attempt to try all possible flavors. While in Little Saigon, my grandfather and I stopped for a little drink. I chose a Taro flavored one, while he chose a (gasp!) Durian flavor. Now, I realize most people do not know what Durian tastes/smells like (which is extremely lucky), but take a second and imagine the worst smelling diaper full of diarrhea that was left in the sun to rot for no less than a month. Yes I'm serious. So when asked if I cared to taste this Durian Boba Tea, I hesitated, but surprisingly decided I'll take the risk. Shockingly, it had the undertone of Durian, but none of that rotting diaper mess. Although I'll probably never chose it myself, the taste alone was bearable.
Another request while I was here was to have some of that damn sticky rice in banana leaves that I adore so much. I'm not sure where we typically get it, nor what nationality it generally belongs to (as many Asian cultures do something along the lines). We went from store to store to track down this mysterious wrapped sticky rice. Eventually we found something that satisfied my needs. Although not exactly what I was looking for, it still contained that familiar taste and texture that I've been longing for.
Overall, this little 5 day trip to California satisfied all my needs- family, fun, food- the most important things in my life.