Hunan Pork with Green Peppers

Relationship: Im/migrant
My cousin eating Pork with Green Peppers
My cousin eating Pork with Green Peppers

When I first came alone to the US for high school as a 15-year-old, I was happy to eat fries and hamburgers for every meal because they were considered "forbidden foods" at home. However, after months of sunshine and butterflies, I caught myself thinking about fresh Hunan green peppers. Constantly. 

Pork with green peppers is undoubtedly the most popular dish in Hunan cuisine. It is a staple in every family in Hunan, and it is the entrance exam for all chefs in Hunan restaurants. Unlike other meat dishes, the star in pork with green peppers isn't the pork, but the green peppers. In Hunan, it is common to find leftovers of only pork, but green peppers are hardly ever wasted. 

My father came to the US one winter break to spend the winter with me. We went to a Hunan restaurant in San Gabriel and ordered pork with green peppers and a few other dishes. The smell immediately teleported me back home when the waiter brought the pork with green peppers to our table. Biting into a piece of pepper, the juices and traces of lard exploded in my mouth, and slowly the spiciness trickled in. I felt as if I was home. Perhaps, it was because I hadn't been home for a while. My dad, who flew from Hunan to the US, looked at me and said, "is it really that good?" while he ate some pork, saved me all the green peppers, and put more green peppers on my rice as soon as I finished them. That was a time I always go back to, even until this day. 

Place(s): Hunan, China; San Gabriel, California
Year: 2015


Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant