Kin Lane

Why I Live in the City - Reason #1 is Ethnically Diverse Food

I grew up on a steady diet of information programming me to believe that cities are bad, and rural areas are good. Something I regularly see reinforced with memes here on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To continue de-programming myself, and push back on this narrative, I am developing a list of reasons why I will live out the rest of my life in the city, and while I will always respectfully visit rural areas and the wilderness, the majority of my life will be spent roaming around the urban areas looking for good food. Reason #1 why I live in urban areas, is food diversity, the reality that you will never find this kind of diversity in Chinese food outside of urban areas.

I have spent more than half of my life completely unaware that this level of diversity in Chinese food existed, and now that I am aware, I want to experience (eat) it all. I feel lied to as part of being raise in white dominated rural communities, where most Chinese restaurants were either owned by white people, run by another Asian minority looking to speak to white people’s tastes, or the rare and occasional Chinese owned restaurant that served a handful of dishes from Cantonese region. I angers me that people in white communities I grew up in would celebrate the arrival of PF Changs, but contribute to such a hostile environment for actual Chinese families to put down roots and open up businesses in their communities.

As white people, why do we select to be so ignorant of other cultures? Once I realized how ignorant I was I became determined to change course for the remainder of my life, where many of the people I grew up with, prefer just keep eating Cashew Chicken. I get it. It takes work to unpack all of this and often times means that you will be uncomfortable, I likely will be eating something you may not like the taste of. However, once you find that one dumpling or other dish that just blows your mind, well…I just can’t step back from doing that work. I am obsessed now. White people are dumb. I agree, that there are ways in which white people have food culture, but I am sorry it just isn’t this diverse, and the pure fact that our culture is so hostile to other cultures, speaks volumes about just how dumb (and mean) we are.

This is just the first post in my exploring the reasons why I will live out the rest of my life in diverse urban areas. I am shocked and dismayed by the amount of programming I endured against cities while growing up, and I am not just going to reprogram myself, I am going to put out all kinds of information out there pushing back on narratives that rural areas are superior to urban ones. I know I will piss off a lot of (white) people in doing this, but I am really tired of seeing the mossy cabin in the wood memes about how grand life would be out in that cabin — sorry, NO!!! I have lived in that cabin, and I am never going back. I’ve lived off the grid and grubbed on shitty processed food from a can, eaten venison that I’ve killed, and even cooked with the vegetables from my own garden. I much prefer to eat venison from Wahpepepah’s Kitchen un Oakland, and explore the <a href==”https://www.hungryonion.org/t/regional-chinese-roundup-3-0-sf-bay-area/4640”>diverse regional Chinese food that exists here in the Bay</a>.