You know that feeling: You’re slightly lightheaded, you’re sweating, and your stomach feels off. In fact, it’s been feeling off since last Thursday. No, you’re not in love. You just forgot to eat rice because you’re living abroad and you haven’t found an Asian supermarket yet where you can buy a proper rice cooker.
That’s right, weird stuff starts to happen when you’re living away from Asia and Asian food, and you start to do weird things to compensate. Something just happens to your body when you’re torn asunder from fish sauce, soya sauce, curry paste, lemongrass, and fermented bean paste. And godammit, where’s that spicy Korean ramen I know I bought for emergencies?!
At times, you feel like you’re hemmed in by white people carbs: you know, potatoes, pasta, bread that’s really hard. (Okay, I actually love all these cards now, but back to the point.) It’s like my grandma used to say when she went on her group tours: Pack lots of cup noodles. Everything else is secondary.
Here’s a list of stuff we all know we’ve done before, all in the name of love for Asian food when we’re living abroad.
1. You call your mom all emotional because you’ve been eating potatoes all week and you miss her cooking but you don’t realize it, so you’re being a tough guy, but really, all you want to say is …
2. You buy Asian sauce. And it was disgusting.
3. You attempt to make dumplings at home and they taste totally awesome even though most of them ended up torn up, burnt and sticking to the pan.
4. You totally freak out when you see Tsingtao, Kirin or Chang beer and order multiple rounds of it. Even though you live in beer country.
5. You get paranoid that you don’t have enough rice to go with the main dish and sauce, and order two portions.
6. You go home for a break and you start tearing up like a baby when your grandmother comes out with the food she cooked.
7. You buy the Maruchan 12-pack of ramen at Wal-Mart because you’re desperate for noodles and there are no Asian supermarkets in your town.
8. You scroll faster through your Facebook when you sense food porn coming from below showing the last meal your friend had at your favorite Vietnamese restaurant for fear of Asian food FOMO.
9. You order Chinese from sketchy-looking roadside takeout places where they use canned bamboo sprouts in everything, and you tell yourself it’s okay with your morals.
10. Your flatmate who’s trying to just be friendly suggests getting Korean for dinner together and you suddenly think you’re in love.
11. You get super excited that you’re going to Chinatown.
12. You pile random ingredients together, pour copious amounts of soy sauce on it, and think it qualifies as Asian food.