Tag Archives: Asian

Chinese Superstitions

by American Girl

If I had seven years of bad luck every time I broke a mirror I would be long dead before my bad luck debt is paid off.  A gigantic klutz such as me cannot really afford to be superstitious about many things. The only superstition that I am inclined to believe in involves sleep and doorways.

I have an insanely superstitious Chinese mother. I laughed everything she said off until my freshman year in college. When I moved into my dormitory, my mom took one look at the room and told me sternly that I was not allowed to sleep with my feet facing the doorway. The fact that the door had a full length mirror made it double bad luck. I thought she was being nutty so I forgot about it.

Then I got really sick. Food poisoning, the flu, cramps, the whole deal. It lasted for two weeks until my mom brought me a screen which blocked the foot of my bed from the doorway.

Coincidence? Probably. But I’m sure as heck not going to go around sleeping with my feet facing doorways and mirrors again.

The following are superstitions that my mom has repeatedly tried to nail into our family’s heads from my childhood.

1. Do not sleep with your feet facing the doorway or mirror, as all your good luck will flow outside or be reflected away.

2. Eat all your food, or every grain of rice that you leave in your bowl will become moles/pockmarks on your future husband’s face.

3. Never stick chopsticks upright in a ricebowl. The dead will be offended as this is the way their food is served.

4. Always knock on hotel or unfamiliar room doors before you enter to stay the night as it is a polite way of warning the spirits of your presence.

5. Do not give clocks as presents. The Chinese word for clock (shi) sounds like the word “death”.

6. Do not give umbrellas as presents, as this will cause the receiver to have an unfortunate day.

7. If your eye twitches, you or someone you know will be put in mortal danger. (I almost got hit by a car once and when I told my mom she screamed”I knew it! My eye was twitching, my eye was twitching!”)

8. Do not sweep your house on New Years because you will sweep all the luck away.

9. Marry a man with a small nose and have a poor life.

10. Holding your chopsticks at the far end will cause you to move very far from your hometown for marriage.

11. Pregnant women should never use glue as it signifies a difficult birth.

12. Dropping your utensils during a meal means you will be forced to treat guests for dinner some time in the future.

13. Always greet guests in the living room. Never greet guests in the bedroom, as this will cause them to become sick.

14. Never go straight home after a wake or the dead will follow.

15. Do not have turtles as pets as this will slow down one’s business.

16. The noodles in a soup symbolizes longevity and should never be cut, lest the eater wants a short life.

There are also many Chinese superstitions involving Feng Shui and numbers, but I’ll get to those another time. What superstitions run in your family?

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My Favorite Toothpaste

by Penang Boy

Try to guess what my favorite toothpaste is? No, it’s not Colgate. No, It’s not Crest either. It’s……… DARKIE! Ching!

Yes! It’s offensive. It looks disgusting but it is actually a great toothpaste. I used it all my life. (Unless you count the first 2 years in US. I forgot to bring my childhood toothpaste!) Darkie is a very popular toothpaste in Asia and contrary to what you may think based on the aesthetics of it, it actually tastes good! Ask American Girl. She acknowledges that it tastes good after you brush. YUM!

Why don’t they sell Darkie in US? Well, maybe because Darkie is offensive and racial. Well, it’s fine, we’ll just change the name to Darlie! That sounds flowery.

That’s what the manufacturers did anyway. You know what? I want to import it to US. Maybe I should try selling the 15 Darlie toothpastes that I have imported from Penang the last trip back home.

My sister actually requested that I buy some cause she NEEDS to use Darlie. I don’t mind Colgate actually but I would actually prefer Darlie.

If I ever import Darlie at a mass scale, I would love to have a celebrity endorse my toothpaste. Who could I have endorse Darkie…. hm….. I know!

Will.i.am.!

 

For more info on Darkie, Wiki it!

Note from American Girl: Penang Boy isn’t kidding. There really is a brand of toothpaste named Darlie (formerly Darkie) and it is THE toothpaste to use in Asia. The Chinese name for the brand translates to “Black Man Toothpaste”. Unlike the U.S., there are no negative connotations in naming something “dark” or “black” in Asia.  Darlie uses a racial caricature, yes, but it’s also a brilliant marketing ploy since I’ve known many Taiwanese who fervently admire the “shiny white smile” of black people.  Seriously though, you’ve got to use it.  It tastes like clean candy.

Update: Thanks to MH! Awesome funniest commercial EVER!


FoodRant #2: Gochi Japanese Fusion Tapas

American Girl lives in a country where Panda Express reigns and authentic, quality Asian food is hard to come by.  Penang Boy came from a country where he claims has the best Asian food in the world.  So when Penang Boy ate the food at this restaurant and said he wanted to cry with joy, you can imagine that American Girl was nearly dead.

Ankimo
Steamed monkfish liver with seaweed in a sour, lemon sauce.


American Girl: (Takes a bite). Oh my god! Sooooo good, the liver tastes like fishy paste! And the sourness goes with it perfectly!
Penang Boy: What if someone chops you open and eats your liver?
American Girl: Hey!

Crab Croquette
Fried food roll containing cream and crab.

American Girl: So creamy on the inside…
Penang Boy: You forgot to take a picture.
American Girl: Oops, oh well, there’s one more left.

Buta Meshi
Rice and pork cooked in a clay pot.

American Girl: I feel cheated. Why is it that I was denied of this my entire life?
Penang Boy: Mmmm…can you taste the pork fat melting in your mouth?
American Girl: I LOVE how the rice sticks to the pot and gets crunchy!

Au Gratin Potatoes
Baked potato with curry covered with cheese.

American Girl: These potatoes taste so light! Better than how Americans cook them.

Lychee Shochu

American Girl: (Takes a long swig from the straw). This is my new favorite drink. Is it alcoholic?
Penang Boy: Yes.
American Girl: Why didn’t you tell me? Ice is coming out of my nostrils!!! WOOOHOOOO!!!! Oh my god!