23 May 2021

Asian Aversion

Crime writers Eve Fisher and Mary Fernando have written about bigotry and touched upon prejudice against Asians. A farmer in rural Minnesota demonstrated one way to mitigate the problem.

I lived in a state forest near Big Lake, Minnesota, one of many villages near the upper Mississippi River, all grown up now into a city. Not many eateries fed travellers along Hiway 10, and it didn’t help the main diner closed and was sold to an Asian family.

Lake in Big Lake, Minnesota
Big Lake, Minnesota © Wikipedia

In town one day, my neighbor Bud announced several of us must go to lunch at the newly reopened diner. One bigmouth said he wasn’t gonna et no Viet Congo victuals.

Bud said, “They’re Korean and it’s damn good food.”

“Don’t care. Who knows what they put in it?”

At that point I suggested, “Garlic, ginger, onion…”

Bigmouth sneered.

Neighbor Bud wasn’t a fragile flower. He said, “Way I figure it, you got a choice between stupid and hungry, or well-fed and wise. Whizzit gonna be?”

Bigmouth grudgingly came along with a group of us, grumbling the whole way.

“Order steaks,” Bud suggested.

Bigmouth stared at everything suspiciously, mumbling under his breath. When the steaks arrived, he sniffed it. He poked at it with his fork in case it wasn’t dead. To be sure, he stabbed it with a knife.

Then he took a bite. He chewed. And another bite. He stopped grumbling. He ate everything, everything on his plate.

Leaning back, he patted his stomach and said, “God-blessed-durn, that was the best steak I ever et. I wonder what they put in it?”

Bud said, “Garlic, ginger…”

Bigmouth not only became a fan of the diner, he became friends with the family.

Every town needs a Bud. And a great Oriental restaurant.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, Big Lake is all grown up into a city, one I wouldn’t recognize nor find my way around. But a local web site demonstrates a decided hostility I can’t account for.

Searching for a picture of the town, I came across BigLake.com where, at the bottom of the home page, I found one of the weirdest legal statements ever, complete with a fat, yellow acknowledgement button:

Due to GDPR, residents of the EU are STRICTLY FORBIDDEN from using this site.
18 USC § 1030 (a)(2)(C)

Why should a burg in Minnesota care, let alone disapprove, that Europe values the privacy of its citizens? Clearly the programming muggle has no understanding of Europe’s data protection regulations or United States Criminal Code or United States Uniform Commercial Code regarding fraud. How very, very peculiar.

But if that Asian restaurant is still around, try the Steak Korean.


  1. The way to many hearts is indeed through the stomach. A good piece!

    1. Well put, Janice. It's hard to wage war when one is satiated and smiling.

  2. Growing up in culinary-delight New Orleans, I did not go to Asian restaurants until a date suggested How-Toy Restaurant on Carrollton Avenue. It had Chinese food and I was hooked for life. Chinese, Korean, Indian, Vietnamese – love it all. All time favorite dish was How-Toy's Peking Duck (we're talking about the 70s). Wow.

    1. I'm with you, O'Neil. American software couldn't have been built without Chinese and Japanese food. I don't know why, but a disproportionate number of top software developers survived on Asian food. It probably contains something to cool ADD.

  3. If I ever get up that way, I will. BTW, how are they on dumplings? I am a sucker for little dough-wrapped packages of flavor, in (so far) every cuisine, whether they're samosas, dim sum, ravioli, pierogi, kibbeh, wontons, or anything else.

    1. Eve, I'm not sure my memory serves in that regard. You would like kreplach, often served during Purim.

      My favorite are perógi sautéed in 175 pounds of caramelized onion. Oh my, my.

  4. As I said, I'll try any dumpling, so someone bring on the kreplach.
    Food: the universal language.

    1. Amen to that. I probably fall more into the gourmand than gourmet category. (sigh)


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