Growing up, going to Asian bakeries and grocery stores has always been a big part of life. There is an Asian area near where I live, maybe 20 minutes away, and though we don’t go there often, it’s nice to go and stock up on some goodies. I love eating Asian pastries, and it’s always a treat when my mom makes dumplings for dinner.
I never realized that it wasn’t normal to go an Asian bakery until about a year ago. I was talking with a friend of a friend and he was telling me how he had a group project and they went to a Korean bakery to work. He went on to describe how weird it all was, that he didn’t know what do or what to eat, or even how to act. I just politely listened and agreed with him but internally I thought it was weird and brushed it off.
I didn’t think much about it until the other day when I was eating an Asian pastry and one of my mom’s friends saw me. We talked about what it was and where I had gotten it and she mentioned how weird and different it was when she had gone to a bakery with my mom. This startled me, and I realized that maybe it is different if you’ve never been. It’s just so ingrained in my life that I never thought twice about it. In Asia there are bakeries on every street corner, and it’s just a part of the daily routine – buy some fresh bread for breakfast or enjoy an evening treat.
When we have friends come to visit, my mom likes to take them to an Asian bakery, and now I’m starting to understand why. It’s not just for the yummy pastries – it’s to share her culture and let them experience it. They get to choose what they want to try, whether it’s a custard bun, egg tart, pork bun, bubble tea, etc, and they get to enjoy the pastries and gain a little more insight into my mom’s culture.