And still really into carrot cake.
It’s been over a year since we’ve said goodbye, and over two years since I began that digestive thrill-ride we called 365 Days of Dining. For those of you who are new to my story, here’s the quick version: my name is Lindsay, and I spent an entire year dining at different Richmond restaurants and eateries, and posting daily about my experiences at each one. It was an edible crash course in all things Asian, as well as a personal exploration of the best of Richmond (the likes of which includes Buddhist monasteries, a 19th century Finnish fishing village, and some incredible community farms).
When my 365 days came to an end, I was satisfied, exhausted, and swore I’d take a break. Instead, I re-swore I’d take a break later, then packed up my apartment and left! At the beginning of last summer, my friend Dana and I (who you probably remember from many a 365 post) set out on a five month journey across Canada called FEAST: An Edible Road Trip. We visited all ten provinces and three territories, and only got our car stuck in mud once.
I’d had such an incredible time telling food stories from Richmond, we took our storytelling ambitions country-wide, and wrote about Canadian food culture as a whole.
My year as the 365 Days of Dining blogger prepared me for this journey in many ways, one of which was a willingness to eat pretty much anything. On our trip, I didn’t think twice about eating sea kelp plucked straight from the water, or tomato wine, or frozen caribou dipped in fermented whale fat. After boiled liver, congealed pig’s blood, and a good ol’fashioned fish head became normal for this suburban-raised white girl, the rest felt utterly manageable!
Another lesson from the 365 blog was also one I came to appreciate during my travels. While away from British Columbia, I came to understand how the Richmond culinary scene provides Metro Vancouver with something truly unique. No other place in the world can lay claim to such a concentrated array of authentic Asian cuisines; the diversity is astounding, and I didn’t truly realize that until I left. Of course, there are plenty of cities with excellent Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, and Thai restaurants, but they’re not all clustered in one relatively small city. Heck, in Richmond you can park your car on Alexandra Street, and find hundreds of options in just a few blocks.
To most North American communities, ‘Chinese food’ generally means one thing: the western version, with chow mein, sweet and sour pork, and deep-fried spring rolls. In Richmond, on the other hand, when you ask, “What kind of Chinese food did you have?” the answers can vary greatly. You could have had Shanghainese, Chiu Chow, Cantonese, Hunan, Szechuan, or many others, not to mention the Korean, Taiwanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese also on offer. I still only have a very basic understanding of the many regional features of Chinese cuisine, but now I know they exist, and for that I am grateful.
Of course, after an entire year of eating in restaurants, I needed a break from it. As of June 2013, I did not want to see, let alone eat, another dumpling, noodle, or bowl of congee. Only a few months later, however, Dana and I both took note of an important date: August 23rd, which has since become known as “The Day Lindsay Had Her First Official Post-365 Craving for Asian Food. Specifically Korean.” It has yet to become a civic holiday, but I’ll let you know when that happens.
So my appetite is back, it is powerful, and I’m looking forward to this wonderful opportunity to re-visit Richmond with a series of ten posts. You might have thought I’d done everything there is to do in 365 days, but I assure you there is still plenty more to see. And, of course, eat! If you’d like to follow along via email, you can subscribe to have these and other posts delivered to your inbox. All the best, and see you again soon!