Fish Paste

The object I am choosing to talk about is a bowl of ngapi and the vegetables that goes along with it as well. But the main object is a bowl of ngapi which is a bowl of fish paste sauce. It’s something that I grew up eating and love to this day. It’s definitely a dish that is I think an acquired taste. It has a very strong fish smell. It stinks. Whenever my mom cooks it, it completely just catches on everything, so your clothes will smell, the whole house smells. But it’s a very big part about our family meals, especially growing up in the Thai-Burma border. And even to this day, as a university student, every time that I go home, my mom will cook up some and bring it in a little container for me to eat at the university. So when I think back on happy times, it brings back memories of my mom making a big bowl of rice with ngapi and like really spicy and she’ll cut up tomatoes and cucumbers and lots of vegetables. And all the kids, me and my siblings, would sit around her and she would just feed us. Even now, we’re all really old – well not really old, but all not kids anymore and when we go home and everyone’s together she’d feed us like we’re kids again. And it’s just something that brings the family together. Another thing that I’m choosing to talk about this dish is because – like I was saying, it’s an acquired taste and it’s a very, very ethnic dish and not a lot of people that grew up in well off families.

Place(s): Washington,
Year: 2005

– Shwe Zin

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child