Culture

For the love of pork

 
As a Puerto Rican you have a love affair with pork. There is pork in everything, including our red beans.   I wasn’t always so enamored of pork. I was a vegetarian for over a decade. Thus, no meat really made me happy.   Even now that I stopped being a vegetarian, I don’t eat much meat. Although, when I do eat meat, I usually eat pork. I am not a big chicken fan as most people overcook it. Nothing I dislike more than chewy, dry chicken. Yuck.  I am ok with beef but don’t eat much steak (if any at all). As such I have reverted to my first love; that being pork. Admittedly, it may be because I am one of a handful of Puerto Ricans in Los Angeles and I need a way to keep my Nuyorican identity going.

 

When I first landed in Hong Kong a wave of nostalgia immediately hit me. I smelled greenery and the tropics. You don’t get such smells in Los Angeles. I mean in LA, you get sulfur, urine and dirt smells. Anyway. I could smell green in Hong Kong and that is a most beloved smell. Of course, I also was a bit taken back by the humidity here in Hong Hong. My face started to feel like it would soon break out into a heat rash.   This situation troubled me because maybe it means I am getting too used to the dry heat in LA. Hopefully after a week in Hong Kong I will come to be familiar again with the humid air. And it was this air and the smells that brought me deep nostalgia.  I felt like I was in Puerto Rico. And I remembered my mom. I felt like she was with me. I smelled her.  I know that may sound a bit odd but I have come to associate such weather with her.

 

As we walked everywhere and traveled by train, tram, ferry and escalators, I saw pork everywhere. I literally did. I had pork for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It was extremely salty pork. Yum.   There is a dish called Cha Siu that means fork roast and consists of honey glazed pork slices.   For a Puerto Rican Hong Kong is a culinary delight and I felt a bit at home. How odd of a feeling to travel so many thousand of miles away to feel at home. That is the true beauty of travel.

 
I have now had pork at every meal except for my vegetarian feast at the monastery. And each dish has been different. Occasionally, while eating I feel my mom is with me. In my moline and spirit, I bring her with me on all my trips. I’m not too sure she would have cared for all the verticalness of Hong Hong but she would have loved the food and public transportation accessibility. 
It may be too early in my trip to make the forthcoming declaration but here it goes. I could see myself living in Hong Kong. I think I like it better than Los Angeles, my current “home” location. The love of pork I am experiencing here is more an indication of how at home I feel.  I can get used to this life of good food, easy access and fast pace. Hmm. Sounds actually a bit like New York. 
Onto the next food adventure.

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