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Davis, California

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Column: Duck fat for V-Day

Three-day weekends don’t really mean much to anyone in college. The extra day meant a lot back when attending class was a mandatory Monday through Friday ordeal, but when some of us don’t even have classes on Friday, having a three-day weekend really isn’t a big deal at all.

Either way, the extended day off still provides an excuse to leave school and do something fun, be it a day trip to San Francisco or a weekend at home. And since it’s both the Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day this Sunday, Davis is going to be pretty lonely this weekend. Or maybe it won’t, depending on how you look at it.

However, the two holidays present an interesting dilemma. Asian students (or, really, anyone who celebrates the Lunar New Year) will have to decide whether to visit the parents at home or spend a romantic day with their significant other. And either way, one thing’s certain: the two probably won’t go together.

Valentine’s Day and the Lunar New Year aren’t all that different, at least in terms of traditions I’ve always celebrated. The iconic red packets fit into the Valentine’s ambience pretty well – they’re essentially fancy greeting cards, without the crap and with way more value. I’m sure a decent amount of dates would appreciate money just as much, if not more, than a box of See’s’ truffles. Especially if they were prostitutes.

In reality, it’s just a question of culture. No surprises there. Considering the amount of regard Asian families have for family time, dropping a Lunar New Year celebration for a hot date would probably be out of the question. Even though I don’t consider myself completely Chinese, I still celebrate the occasional Asian holiday with my parents and I’d probably lean towards visiting home over a V-Day date. It’s just how things are.

And really – nobody cares about Valentine’s Day anymore. Or, at least I don’t think they do. The heyday of V-Day met its demise after elementary school, when school parties stopped making everyone pass out candy to the entire class. Even the Entertainment Council’s Single’s Awareness Night currently has roughly 350 confirmed guests on Facebook.

So for anyone facing this dilemma, I propose a simple solution: spend the Lunar New Year with both your family and your date. Go to a genuine Chinese restaurant and order something tasty and authentic. Your girlfriend will be impressed with a roast pig and tangerines, served alongside a dish of dumplings. Order roast duck if she’s into fattier meat. If she isn’t impressed, break up with her. She isn’t worth it.

Awkward dinners with the family are an important stepping-stone of a relationship. It couldn’t be more romantic (long-term romantic) to meet the parents while fighting over the lazy Susan to get more chow fun.

Other suggestions: order salted fish and put it over plenty of rice. Anything cooked with spicy salt works for the timid, and bok choy is a great choice for the health-conscious (it has way more potassium than a banana). Black bean crab and pan-fried sole are personal favorites. Finish it off with a warm red bean dessert and leave the restaurant three hours later.

Happy Lunar New Year.

JUSTIN T. HO almost wrote an “Ask Justin T. Ho” column, where he’d finally answer all the burning relationship questions that are piling up in his e-mail inbox. Questions like, “Why are you such a dick when you write ArtsWeek?” for example. Send more questions to arts@theaggie.org.

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