The Best Chao in the World
By My-Thuan Tran
My dad cooked only one dish when I was growing up, over and over. It was the only time he commanded the kitchen that usually bustled with f ive women and their complicated concoctions. His dish was simple. Three ingredients: a chicken, an onion, roasted grains of rice. Simmered in a pot with water until the grains blossomed and the chicken released a light broth. Tasted to perfection with dashes of fish sauce that soothed the grains and served with a pinch of fresh cilantro and scallions. Chao ga. To describe it in English makes it sound unappetizing. My dad e-mails my sister who lives nearby him, “Come home to eat the best chao in the world!” I live far away now, so I can’t come eat the best chao in the world. The city I live in pulses constantly. But when I feel like I need to find a bit of quiet, I buy a chicken, some rice and an onion and watch the dish unfold as the commotion from the city melts away. Watch the grains blossom As my apartment fills up With the scent of home
My-Thuan Tran is a class of 2015 mentee alum.