Why Eating Bánh Xèo is an Emotional Journey For Me

2014 was a pivotal year for me. Although the pivot and growth I experienced were sparked by a relationship upheaval, all the friends, travel, work experience, and meeting the person I now call my husband were part of that upheaval. That’s something I’ll always cherish and think fondly back on. This is also why I kind of love The Tower card in tarot.

But, back to the story. During that time, one of the many major changes I embarked on was moving. I moved pretty much every year (common for LA and the ever-increasing cost of rent), but this move was particularly significant because it was the first time I’d be living completely alone. Having been blessed with a sister, I shared a bedroom with her my whole life until college. Then during college I always had roommates. Post-college, I also always had roommates because see previous sentence regarding LA rent. However, since it was 2014, I got lucky and found a studio apartment I was able to afford.

The move was brutal for a number of reasons, but one of the main reasons was because my parents were the only ones helping me – they are literally the best. But unfortunately, that meant my dad and the one guy he hired from SGV (San Gabriel Valley) and his small moving truck did all the heavy lifting. Since my parents were unfamiliar with west LA, and I wasn’t in the emotional state to handle it myself, that’s how we did the move. It sucked. It was tiring, and it took the entire day and night.

When we were finally finished, dad drove us all the way back to the SGV and exhausted, the 3 of us went to dinner. We went to a small place that one of my mom’s work friends recommended that specialized in bánh xèo, Vietnamese sizzling pancake stuffed with shrimp, beansprouts, fresh herbs, and other savory goodies. It was SO good. After a miserable moving day, burning our fingers on the hot crepe and biting into fat juicy shrimp was that much more satisfying. Having gone through a particularly rough breakup and life change, I felt so much gratitude for the two people sitting with me, eating delicious food with me, and being there for me. All my life they’ve been my dear parents, but at that moment, we also became best friends.

Shooting the shit with my parents and enjoying amazing food together are some of the best moments of my life. I’m reminded of the strong relationship we share every time I enjoy a plate of bánh xèo. It’s funny how food can do that.