Enter the Dragon

On Chinese New Year, I always wish that we had a Chinatown in our town. I don’t mean in Los Angeles, where there are several large and thriving Chinese communities — all an hour or more drive away. I mean in our little beachy, mountainy community of Topanga Canyon. The entire of our one-stoplight village is itself no bigger than the most modest 3rd-tier middle-American city’s Chinatown. But it would be cool to have a tea-and-dumpling house, a market and a crappy chotchke shop. I know a couple people in the canyon of Chinese descent, so I guess that’ll have to do.

Chinese immigrants in the New World

I like ethnic celebrations, and if I lived in New York or San Francisco on this Chinese New Year, I would hop a subway or cable car, go unwrap some sticky rice and watch a parade. More

Unlucky Duck

When I was in my early twenties, one of my favorite dishes to cook was Peking duck. Ambitious, yes, but I loved the ritual of it — getting a fresh duck, inflating the skin, dousing it in a honey/water mixture, then hanging it with a fan to dry for 24 hours.

I was always looking for the best place to hang the duck. Once, my mother came home and let out a gasp upon entering her kitchen and discovering a duck dangling from the light fixture.