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The Comfort Food I Make When I Miss Home

Being stuck in a place that is more than 7,000 miles away from home, I realized that the light-flavored food my mom always makes has a more powerful role in my mind than I’ve ever imagined. Now, being away from home and missing those meals, I decided to share with everyone what I eat in a day when I miss home!

Yan Du Xian (bamboo shoot soup with fresh and pickled pork)

People say that basically everyone back in my hometown will make this dish when the Spring Equinox comes. It’s one of the 24 solar terms that are widely used in China, representing that the day and night are approximately equal in length with 12 hours each on that day. During this period of time, the weather starts to be more warm and comfortable, and hence people will buy some fresh bamboo shoots from the farmer’s market. Tradition has it that this soup should be slowly stewed so that the room will fill with the appetizing smell.

Suzhou-Style Wonton Soup

It comes with half a dozen pork and shrimp dumplings in broth with seaweed, spring onion, and sliced egg roll on top. Compared to those bigger-sized dumplings from the Northern part of China, these smaller wontons won’t let you feel stuffed after devouring a whole bowl.

Avocado Tofu Salad

This dish was originally from a cute cafe named Do My Best, located in Pinjiang Old Street downtown, and they have the best avocado tofu salad in town! It’s very easy to make on your own. Whenever you don’t feel like having a heavy meal, you can simply add sliced avocado and tomato to your cubed tofu, making it a nutrient-filled lunch or dinner!

Fresh Water Prawns Noodles

A seasonal treat that embarks on another summer! It’s hard to find water prawns in the U.S., so I usually use Argentinian red shrimp from Trader Joe’s instead. The shrimps are plump and bouncy, perfectly matched with the crunchy fresh vegetables and the al dente noodles.

Tofu Skin Rolls with Minced Pork

If you wrap up the minced pork like what you do for spring rolls, then you get the gist! Adding a couple spoons of chicken broth on top would be a plus!

Suzhou Sugar Porridge

Even if I cut off sugar, I still make the modified version of authentic “sugar” porridge. On top of the white glutinous rice, I put some banana and dragon fruit juice, creating a subtle sweetness as well as adding some color to the porridge. Then, layer it with some red bean paste and mix well when eating it to enjoy the fragrant “dessert.”

The desire for food from home goes deeper than just craving certain tastes or flavors. It has been engraved in my memory in the sense that it forms part of my identity. When you are at home, don’t forget to learn some traditional dishes from your parents. No matter how well you make them, you will feel warm from the bottom of your heart when you take the first bite of your comfort food.

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Zhilan is a current sophomore at Boston University. Being an extroverted introvert, she loves to cook healthy food, explore aesthetic coffee shops, and read mysteries.
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