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Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Paean to the Good Life 矶法伯伯变为土包子

This morning, my daughter-in-law treated us all to baozi, a steamed bun stuffed with pork and vegetables.  She has done this before, and while a think her former baozi were excellent, the ones she made were better.

My introduction to baozi came when I taught in Taiwan way back in the late 1970's.  A small shop stood outside the place where I entered the campus, and every morning it sold baozi--either pork, cabbage, or a mixture. Now, a lot of Americans, especially those from urban areas, know the char siu bao, a Cantonese delight made with honey-glazed, red-colored roast pork made in the char siu (叉烧)style.  However, the more "homestyle" pork baozi I encountered in Zhongli, Taiwan (台湾中坜)captured my taste buds. Char siu bao are a good snack every so often, but the sweetness is just a little too much for me, and jaunts to the Chinatowns of New York and Washington have warned me that I can often get more sauce than meat (I had that unhappy experience in Guangzhou itself, too). But if you find a place that makes the more ordinary baozi, and get the right mix of pork, scallion, garlic, and ginger, and two such delicacies make just about the best breakfast ever, at least for my money. 

写给读中文的朋友的故事 A little joke for Chinese readers:


矶法伯伯原来是美国华府郊外地区的人,也是犹太,挪威,苏格兰血统的白种人也。据我所了解,我娶台湾太太之前, 我家没什么华夏传统。‘可是台湾的肉包把我变为中国乡下佬。这是怎么能够可能的事呢?

我第一次在台湾中坜市私立中原大学(那时候,还是私立中原技术学院)教书与帮助校牧室,小渊阁必有一家小店。那店买早餐,包括油条,豆酱,烧饼,与包子,都是台湾学生与老师们所爱的食物。我第一次去,我买两个肉包。那点调和的猪肉,大蒜, 茺,与别的东西完全和与我所喜欢的味道。两个肉包或一个肉包一个菜包就会让我很满足。因此,我平常的早餐就是两个包子。 可是,两个包子,英文怎么讲?Two Baozi.(土包子)。 后来,我的两个华人室友就开始喊我“土包子”。

For English readers:

The upshot of the story is a kind of bad pun which even now brings groans to my long-suffering wife and adult sons.  When I lived in Taiwan, I foundd that two baozi (steamed buns stuffed with cabbage and/or pork) made an excellent, excellent breakfast, which even now brings back a sigh of longing. Well, the English "two baozi" sounds like the Chinese word for "hick" or "country bumpkin" (tu baozi--土包子).  In those high and far off days of youth, my two roommates at the time, both ethnic Hua (one American, the other Taiwanese) started to jocularly call me "the Hick", or "tu baozi" over my preferred breakfast.

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