We’re planning to go to Rosetta, an Italian place by a woman chef who studied literature in college, but, as we’re lounging in our Airbnb before dinner, I turn to you and say, I’m really sorry. Handmade pasta sounds great, but I want rice and noodles. I need rice and noodles.
I could go for rice and noodles, you say with a shrug, and I add that to my mental checklist of reasons we’re so right for each other.
I prop my legs on your lap and start Yelping Asian food in Mexico City. There was a Chinese place I’d written down on one of my many food lists, a kitschy place that has its roots in the history of Chinese immigration to Mexico, but I don’t want that — I want Asian food, good Asian food, Asian food that isn’t bastardized greasy Chinese food.
I mean, not that I don’t sometimes need bastardized greasy Chinese food, I say. Even if some people might not consider that very authentic. Sometimes, you just need it.
What’s authentic, anyway? you ask, massaging my calves. I hate that word, especially when people use it to talk about food. What’s authentic to one person isn’t the same to the next person, and who’s to say who’s right?
There’s such a thing as traditional, though. Sometimes, I get particular about wanting traditional Asian food.
But that’s not the same as “authentic,” you say, making giant air quotes with your fingers, and my calves feel cold where your hands were just a second ago.
Nope, it is not. Authentic’s a marketing gimmick word, and it’s very snooty and bullshit-y, I say. Let’s go here. Green Asian Cuisine. It looks good.
It turns out to be the right choice, this spacious restaurant that’s empty save for one family in the back. I ask for tea as we start flipping through the menu, and you say it feels like another thunderstorm is coming, we should get noodles in soup. I laugh, ask if you’re like that, too, if you also need noodles when things are falling from the sky.
I never thought of it that way, you say. Why, do you?
Yup. Pho when it’s raining, Japanese ramen when it’s snowing. Specifically tonkotsu ramen.
That’s very specific.
My body has very specific needs.
Good to know. They do have pho here apparently … it’s on the menu.
Okay, it’s not raining yet, and I don’t know about pho here. You gotta go to a proper pho place for pho. There’s wonton noodle soup, though — let’s get that? And yang chow fried rice? And dumplings? What kind of dumplings? Fried dumplings? Shrimp dumplings? Pork dumplings? And maybe some kind of chicken? And Singapore noodles?
Sure, you say.
All of it.
Awesome. But what kind of dumplings?!