egg roll wrapper

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Special thanks to @x-aa for allowing me to use her art for the thumbnail!

“Chat?”

He looked up to see Marinette standing in front of him. It was the middle of the night and he was sitting on a park bench, not wanting to go home quite yet. “Princess? What are you doing out so late, alone?” He asked.

“I… was trying to catch some footage of the Akuma fight as a present for Alya!” She exclaimed.

“That’s not safe,” He said, patting the space next to him as a gesture for her to sit down.

“I guess you could call me a rebel.”

“A pretty cute one,” he winked.

“You never stop flirting, do you kitty?”

“It’s im-paw-sible.”

“You’re starting to make me feel bad for Ladybug,” she joked, sitting down next to him.

“Why do you say that?” he asked.

“How would she feel if she knew that you were flirting with other girls?”

“Oh, but Marinette,” he said, leaning in towards her, “You aren’t just some other girl.”

She was a bit taken aback by his words. “What’s that supposed to mean?” She laughed, glancing away from his gaze.

“I’m sorry, did I fluster you?” Chat grinned, pulling away from her face. “I’m only teasing after all.”

“Are you hungry?”

“A little, why?”

“I guess I’m the kind of person who likes to feed stray cats.”

Chat couldn’t help but let his grin grow wider. A home-cooked meal is everything he wanted in that moment. “What’s on the menu?” He asked.

“How about we stop at the store first and you can pick out your favorites.”

“Really? You’ll make me lumpia?”

“Lumpia?” Marinette turned around with a question on her face. “What’s that?”

“Filipino egg rolls.”

That’s your favorite food?”

“I just want to eat it.”

“…Chat?” Marinette glanced over at him, “…Did you see this in an Anime?”

“What? No!”

“Reeeeally?” Marinette asked, skepticism bleeding out of her voice.

“…Yes…”

“Okay. I’ll look up the recipe online,” she said, pulling out her phone. “Let’s see… We’ll need meat, green onions, carrots, egg roll wrappers…” She quickly typed up what ingredients her parents didn’t have at home and started walking ahead.

“Wait for me, Princess!” He called after her. Several phones were out by the time they reached the store, recording Paris’ favorite superhero racing shopping carts with a random girl.

“Don’t you think we’re a little old for this?” Marinette asked, balancing herself on the railing of her cart as her feet hovered above the floor.

“Never.”

“Coming from the guy wearing a mask.”

“Touche,” He smiled, grabbing a package of ground turkey, “Would you prefer this, or pork?”

“Ground turkey will be easier to cook,” She said, comparing prices. “Anything else you’d like before we check out? Some chocolate, perhaps?”

“Chocolate?” Chat’s ears popped up at the suggestion. “I can have some?”

“Yes?” Marinette wasn’t sure why her partner was so excited at her recommendation. Was he not allowed to eat sweets often?

“What kind? Like, a chocolate bar, or truffles? Or maybe something dipped in chocolate! Or, because it’s almost Christmas, Orange-flavored chocolate that you can peel ‘slices’ off of?”

She bit back a laugh at the sight of so much excitement in the young man’s stature. “Yeah, okay. We’ll get two orange-flavored breakaway chocolate balls.”

His face light up and he sprinted to the candy aisle, leaving Marinette to follow him like a mother with her five-year-old son. “Milk or dark chocolate?” He asked, his arms filled with the seasonal chocolate.

“Whichever you’d like,” She said, “But you can only get two, and one of them is for me.”

Chat stood up after a few minutes, proudly holding out his selection- one dark chocolate and one milk chocolate. “Are these two okay?” he asked.

“Perfect choice. Shall we go check out?”

“Yeah!” He returned to his place at her side and waved at a passing child looking at him in awe.

“I bet you just made that kid’s day,” Marinette said, patting him on the back.

“You think?”

“If you go ask to take a picture with him he’ll be the most popular boy in school for a week.”

“I… guess. I mean, I never really thought of myself that way.”

“Come on, Chat. All of Paris looks up to you,” Marinette said, unloading the cart onto the checkout.

“Do you really think so?” He asked.

“What makes you question it?”

“I mean, do you think Ladybug views me in that light?”

Marinette froze with her hands on the onions. “What do you mean?”

“Do you think Ladybug looks up to me?” He unloaded the chocolate onto the conveyor belt.

“Yes.”

Chat looked up at her in surprise of her stern answer and didn’t know how to respond. The cashier checked them out and they made their way back to her place in silence. He was on the edge the whole time, unable to tell if the quiet between them was uncomfortable or not.

“Here’s a spatula. If you’ll start the meat I’ll start dicing the onions,” Marinette said, handing him the utensil and the package of ground turkey.

“Medium heat?” He asked.

“Sure, sounds good. Throw some oil in there with it.” Marinette said, turning to dice up the vegetables. A few minutes later she heard an unusual noise and turned to see Chat on the brink of tears.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, suddenly worried about her partner.

“Nothing, I’m just… really happy right now. Sorry, I guess I’m a bit of a crybaby,” Chat said, trying to sniffle his tears back inside him.

“No, really, what’s going on?” She reached up to touch his face in support.

“Nah, it’s stupid.”

“I don’t care. Tell me.”

“It’s just… shopping for food together. Cooking together. It feels nice.”

“What do you mean?”

“I guess I’m just not used to this feeling.”

“And what feeling is that?”

“Home.”

Marinette froze at his bold choice of words. “Home?” She asked.

“I would imagine that this is what shopping with your family feels like,” he sighed, mixing the meat into the bowl and giving her a weak smile. “I think it’s time to start rolling them up.”

“…We need to add the soy sauce first,” Marinette said, unsure how to respond to his remark.

“…Do you plan on having a family, Princess?” He asked.

“As opposed to what?”

“Being a career woman,” Chat said, pulling out a wrapper and spooning the filling on it.

“I think… family would come first,” Marinette said, sealing the wrappers he filled with a beaten egg.

“It would be a nice life, wouldn’t it?”

“Cooking with your family each day?”

“Yeah.”

“…I think so too,” Marinette said, throwing the rolls into a pot of oil. “But Chat, you already have a home whenever you need it.”

“It doesn’t feel like home,” He sighed.

“I’m not talking about where you sleep at night, silly kitty,” Marinette laughed.

“Then… where are you talking about?” He asked, furrowing his brows.

“Here!” She pointed to herself. “Friends can be family too you know.”

“We’re… friends?” Chat said in astonishment, his eyes growing wide.

“Of course we are! I don’t make lumpia with just anyone, you know!”

“Friends…” Chat whispered, staring at his classmate. A warm fire flickered in his heart that brought a smile to his face. Perhaps this feeling of home wasn’t going to be temporary.

—-

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Vietnamese American in South California

After stumbling upon this blog more or less by accident but very welcomed, I figured it would be a good idea to browse around as I myself do try to write recreatively every so often. I’ve gone through maybe the first ten profiles, I figured I may as well do one myself.

A little of background, the place where I live is known to have one of the largest Vietnamese population in the country. You can find all sorts of different Asian food/markets/stores/etc just walking down the street. My high school where I’m a junior is predominantly Asian and Hispanic. Both my parents were born in Vietnam and came over around the time of the Vietnam War. My siblings and I, on the other hand, were both born and raised in America. I myself am still adjusting to the whole poc thing after having grown up with the average american culture on media.

Beauty Standards

Of course everyone has their own opinions, but I find that the saying “the grass is greener on the other side” to be very true to the way I think. As a nearly year round swimmer, my skin can get pretty darned tan pretty fast. I always liked whiter skin that wasn’t too white for myself but I recognize beauty in many shades. As for the rest of the body, I’ve always admired taller and slim figures for both females and males, being a nearly ridiculously skinny and short person for most of my life, but again, recognizing beauty in other shapes.

Maybe this part isn’t specifically related to my beauty standards but it does have to do with my appearance. I’ve been out in the sun for a long while now. As a kid, way before all this technology stuff came along, I was playing outside with my younger brother before I was going to school. I was in the pool every summer and began learning how to properly swim since about the summer after fifth grade (10/11 years old). I’ve been swimming on my high school team for three years now. Bottom line: I’m in a constant state of tan. It doesn’t bother me that much that I range from potato tan to dirt brown tan. However, people have been confusing me for non Vietnamese, while it is a little amusing to watch them guess, why does it matter? Vietnamese is just another label. Why not appreciate my skin color for the color it is? Seems to work for eyes pretty well regardless of whether the person is German or Korean or Brazilian or whatever.

Clothing

In terms of american vs viet dress, I’ve always worn more american clothing. It’s a lot easier to find in good quantity and quality; many of the traditional Vietnamese ao dai dresses begin very flimsy. I have no problem with wearing traditional Viet but the main issue is that the only time i really do is for new year celebration which is usually late january-february, aka pretty cool, aka not the same tropical weather Vietnam normally has, for which ao dais were designed.

Dating and Relationships

I’m not big on dating. Never have and I don’t see myself being so for a while. Nonetheless, it doesn’t change the fact that my dad is a stickler for a sort of traditional setup where I end up with a respectable Vietnamese male. My mom, however, is a lot less restrictive, or she’s kept quiet about her expectations; I don’t exactly keep my relationship status and opinions on such a secret. As for friends, both my parents prefer people that are respectable and asian. They have to meet a certain criteria or else I start hearing something about my friends. Personally, my circle of close friends is largely based on the connection and experiences we’ve had with each other.

Food

One of my favorite topics. Once upon a time, I was a picky, slow eater. Nowadays, I’m pretty open to what I’ll stomach. In terms of what I normally eat, it’s almost always home cooked for health reasons, but mainly Vietnamese based. I’m used to this diet, but I was rather shocked when I found out a former classmate had never eaten fast food until almost high school and a current friend of mine eats out nearly every weekend with her family; too each his own. Nearly every meal I have will have rice or rice noodles. Traditionally, that’s what constituted most dishes. Some popular dishes: pho (chicken/beef noodle soup), fried rice with mixed vegetables/meat/cilantro/green onion, spring rolls (noodles, greens, meats, and some other stuff wrapped in rice wrappers), egg rolls (more or less the same as spring rolls without the greens and fried). Of course, if you go into a Vietnamese/Asian restaurant, you’ll have a heckuva lot more variety. Sometimes, my mom or dad will whip up something different. Normally, dad does a stew sort of thing. I’m pretty sure the recipes vary or are a family bc I’ve almost never seen the same stew in a restaurant. Mom will either go for another viet dish we normally don’t eat or something less Asian like pasta. However, when we celebrate Thanksgiving, we go for the traditional turkey with potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, corn, etc.

Holidays (yayyyy)

I’m pretty sure it varies by family, but there are very few holidays that my family will actually celebrate. From the previous section, there’s Thanksgiving, and as Roman Catholics, there’s also Christmas, which we smush together with (Jan 1st) New Year’s, and Easter. For birthdays, there’s a lot of us so we’ll throw one celebration for one bunch of people (ex: I’m mid september like my aunt and two cousins, so all four birthdays will be celebrated at once although each of us is actually a different day) unless the immediate family decides to have another celebration. The only other major holiday we celebrate is tet, or lunar new year, whatever. We celebrate with traditional tet and Vietnamese food and red envelopes of money (which when initially introduced to one of my English teachers, she thought the kids were presenting the money to the adults, hahaha). Out of the monthly american holidays, I feel that we mainly use the more significant ones, like mother’s and father’s day, as reasons to get the whole family together, something getting rarer with the growing children (the young generation ranges from the oldest who’s already 23ish to the youngest who’s a little over a year old).

Language

As the children of first generation parents, I and many of my siblings and cousins first spoke Vietnamese before learning English at various points in our childhood. I started sometime around kindergarten (5/6 year old) but one of my younger cousin, a 3 year old, is already picking up on conversational English. As I became more immersed in the English language, I stopped speaking Vietnamese although I could still understand most of the adult table conversations at parties or when addressed to me directly. When I first got into high school, I wanted to take Vietnamese as my foreign language because I wanted to reconnect to my native language. My mom argued against it, saying that I could learn at home instead. Despite that, I’ve started picking it up again and speak Viet much more often compared to a few years ago.

Misconceptions

Because of the high concentration of other Asians, especially Viets, where I live, I feel that I don’t have to deal with many misconceptions in person, being an introvert also helps with that. 

Still, I would like to take the opportunity to address some common stereotypes and misconceptions. 

First, the smart Asian.

(Unless otherwise specified, assume that the people I refer to here are Asian.)

 Despite being at the top of class and sincerely enjoying and doing well in my math and science classes, I don’t flaunt it around friends. I honestly don’t think that I need to smart to have good friends and not all of my friends feel the same way as I do academically. Not all of my friends are as smart I am sometimes. I have a B average friend that made it to the decathlon team and I didn’t. She went on to wearing medals and going to state competition and doing very well there with the rest of the team while I was swimming. I have days where my brain doesn’t work with me and I can’t think straight. I have another friend, B/C average, and she hates history but she managed to score better than me on our benchmark final, not because I scored low, but because she scored high and we had the same teacher, same test. Maybe it’s a fluke but does it matter? It happened. 

On the other hand, there’s another smart guy, top of the class, all AP classes, you know the type. He flaunts his smartness. I don’t talk to him personally, but I’ve heard him refer to the average people, even the above average people as “commoners”. Getting into top 20 of several hundred in our class and being nominated for almost every class he’s taken this year at the awards ceremony was “gg ez”. Just goes to show you that not every smart Asian is the same. Also, some things like smart being the same as nerdy and glasses is 100% not true. 

Hot nerd =/= smart. Smart and nerdy are not mutually inclusive. A few things that really get on my nerves, especially at the latest assembly which was supposed to be focus on academics, ASB had a bunch of people dress up in the stereotypical nerd dress up (white top, glasses, suspenders, etc.) for a “flash mob” dance.

“Asians are bad drivers.” 

Just. WhY???? We have to take the whole driver’s ed thing like everybody else. Some of the Asian people I know are perfectly fine drivers. I’ve seen bad drivers that aren’t Asians. Bad driving is a label earned, not given.

Sexy Asian ladies. 

I’m sorry, but have you taken a good look at the rest of the human population???? Back to my beauty standards, I see beauty everywhere. Even if you can’t, at least understand that humans come in all sorts of shapes, colors, sizes. Not all Asian ladies have white skin and chi*ky eyes with the monolid, big ass boobs, and are skinny as frick. I’m tan as all hell in the summer; I don’t think I have eyes that are that small; I’ve been putting on weight; I don’t have curves. I have other friends that are also tanned, bigger than me, flat and no curves. I have friends that don’t tan, have curves and all that. Why care?

Self Esteem

Another big topic. I haven’t been put down for identifying as Asian american yet and I’m not aware of any of my friends being put down for identifying as whatever it is, but self esteem is not solely based on that. Going to the smart Asian stereotype, yes, I have “Asian parents”. My mom was top of her class in Vietnam, she seems to expect the same from me. I’m not specially honored or anything when I have A average grades when other people would kill for that. Instead, I’m given a “good job, keep your grades like that” and a chewing out when anything drops to a B. 

Sometimes, I will put in a lot of hard work for something big, academically, and the results don’t turn out as great as I was expected to get. I’m not given a “hey, i know you expected better, let’s try again”, I’m told “you need to do better, go work harder and do it again” or “you blew it this time, do you realize the consequences it can have on your future?” Sometimes, I don’t care about what happens, I just want to be appreciated for what I can do, and not what I can’t. I have friends who aren’t as academically talented and their parents give them hell for it. It stresses them out and makes them just want to quit. But I always let them know that they can come to me for help. I am more than willing to help and tutor.

I can’t begin to count how many times someone in my family has said sometime over the years “you’re so skinny, eat some more.” or “you’re so short, why don’t you put in more effort to grow taller?” or “you’re so tall now” or “you don’t look good in those clothes without a chest” (This is mainly from my mom who works in fashion, but it’s true because the size I am, it can be difficult to find nice fitting clothes.) I don’t let this bother me too much either, but there are still days where I wish I were taller, more curved, more athletically built. Some days, I will wish that I wasn’t so Asian looking or had the background and experiences that I do.

Things to see

I read an article awhile back about the roles of Asian males in tv and movies, particularly Hollywood ones. I would like to see more non traditional Asian male roles by less traditional looking males. Unless the story is literally based in Asian culture, don’t have the one cool ninja guy be Asian and everyone else is something else. What about the suave con man? Or gentlemanly football player? President/leader of a community club? 

For the ladies, don’t make her the slut or concubine of the group. I like the idea of an angry but caring motherly figure for the dudes constantly getting in trouble. The kickass awesome chef sprouting sarcasm. What the heck, an Asian version of Ginny Weasley. Make her the leader instead of the follower. Melinda May, anyone?

We are not all that people think we are. We may have cultural differences with others, but we are also every bit as diverse.

Healthy crispy lasagna rolls 

Ingredients: 

  • 3 egg roll wrappers 
  • 4 oz lean ground beef or turkey 
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce 
  • ¼ cup light shredded cheese 
  • 1 egg 
  • 3 tbsp whole wheat breadcrumbs 
  • veggies of your choice (i used mushrooms and zucchini) 

Directions: 

  1. Cook meat until lightly browned (season to taste) 
  2. Add in veggies of choice and tomato sauce 
  3. Cook until veggies are tender and set aside to cool 
  4. Add bread crumbs to one bowl and egg to another
  5. Lay out egg roll wrapper and spoon in 1/3 of meat mixture into each wrapper. 
  6. Top the meat with your cheese in each one 
  7. Fold the ends and roll the wrapper and seal with a bit of egg wash 
  8. Dip whole roll into beaten egg and then into breadcrumbs- repeat for all rolls 
  9. Place the rolls on a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes 
  10. Enjoy! 

1 serving size of this is 3 rolls and has ~350 calories!

 

Ingredients

    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 avocados, halved, peeled and seeded
    • 1 roma tomato, diced
    • ¼ cup diced red onion
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 8 egg roll wrappers
For the cilantro dipping sauce
  • ¾ cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and deveined, optional
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • To make the cilantro dipping sauce, combine cilantro, sour cream, jalapeno, mayonnaise, garlic and lime juice in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat.
  • In a medium bowl, gently mash avocados using a potato masher. Add tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper, to taste, and gently toss to combine.
  • Working one at a time, place avocado mixture in the center of each wrapper. Bring the bottom edge of the wrapper tightly over the filling, folding in the sides. Continue rolling until the top of the wrapper is reached. Using your finger, rub the edges of the wrapper with water, pressing to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers and avocado mixture.
  • Working in batches, add egg rolls to the Dutch oven and fry until evenly golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Serve immediately with cilantro dipping sauce.