D.C. In mid July 

I have forgotten that the east coast in mid of July is also as hot as the dry air of Northern California where I now live. Woahhh, we landed in DC and got blasted with 90F and humidity. It’s still tolerable, though.

Oh D.C., the last time we were here was in August of 2014. Mr. O and I took the boys on a road trip from Minnesota traveling through and stopping by Chicago and Cleveland before reaching D.C.  

Well, since then, D.C. has change drastically, and I am not talking about the physical landscape. I am glad that we get to see the White House from outside. Now I am getting nauseous thinking of being in its close proximity. 

Anyway, I better not get distracted. 

Mr. O is here for a conference and we are tagging along for summer vacation. It’s not Hawaii, and there are no nice beaches with turquoise blue water, and no lush tropical trees, but the boys don’t seem to complain at all. They still bicker and poke and fight every five minutes or less. Are they going through a phase of sibling rivalry and if so, will it pass? I just can’t handle the constant competition between these boys. Urghh!

At dinner today I met a nice Vietnamese man who served at the restaurant that we visited. He and I founded a common ground in being refugees and had our time in Bataan refugee camp. He was in group cycle 134 and I was 136 and we overlapped for a few months before he left for settlement in the U.S. Although today was the first time we met each other, that one common ground connected us with a string of  live-through experience that seems lost as part of our history. I don’t think many of us talk about Bataan refugee camp that much anymore and that physical place had been demolished to become something else with new name and new identity; just like how we have become dissolved into the fabric of American lives and that small part of our identity also vanished. But it was nice to have someone who had gone through that same experience, with knowledge of the same physical landscape, to know how we lived through those days. 

I am still proud of my American identity that began with a refugee experience!

So much of yaddiyahdiyah… I started writing this post since Monday when we just got to D.C. And it’s already midweek. 

chicken and rice

It’s Mr. O’s favorite rice dish — Hainanese Chicken Rice.

I usually labored for at least three hours in the messy kitchen to cook up this dish using the stove. But yesterday was the first attempt of using the Instant Pot. I overcooked the chicken a little bit, but that gave me a lesson for next time to reduce the time from 25 minutes to 20 or less. The chicken was a bit too done for me, and the skin fell off before I could dip the whole fowl into an ice bath.

And I fried my own shallots…talking about making more work for oneself!

The rice was washed and soaked with a bit of turmeric powder, hence the yellow color. I also used Mogami medium grain rice, grown and harvested in the U.S.


This is what I was talking about when I had that petty argument with Mr. O about the boys’ haircut. PP didn’t want to be in the photo because he was conscious of his bald head. This guy, however, took it with a stride and gave me all he got.

We traveled down south on Route 1, the coastal highway, and stopped by Gray Whale Cove Beach on our way to Halfmoon Bay on July 4th weekend. This was where the traffic began on that one-lane stretch of highway.

It’s always been cloudy, foggy, and cold whenever we come to the coast. Ain’t no sunshine…

side dish and main entree

Guess which one is the side dish?

Not this one. This was my main entree for dinner last night.
Ripe but firm mango I found at a local market, on sale 3 for a dollar. I made a quick Vietnamese mango salad with whatever I had in the fridge.

And the chicken wings were side dish.
Oven baked chicken wings, with garlic tamarind sauce. Secret ingredient for the sauce — 100% maple syrup!

Shirokiya Japan Village Walk

The Japan Village Walk was another place I found based on recommendations from Youtubers. It’s located on one end of Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu, about 15 minutes from Waikiki. It’s not part of the mall’s food court, but was in an enclave of itself. I felt so belonged as soon as I walked into this place, although a bit perplexed and overwhelmed of the bustling atmosphere. There were so many stalls of Japanese food that the only difficult task we had was what to eat and which stall has the best items. I browsed around, walking up and down the rows and ailes at least three times before deciding on my dinner menu.

I highly recommend this place if you travel to Honolulu, even if you are not a fan of Japanese food, just come here for that cultural and food experience.

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