by Leilani Polk
My biggest regret since moving to Seattle is not eating my way through more of the Chinatown-International District when I was living in the heart of it.
In the mornings, there were always yeasty scents wafting through the air from the nearby Dim Sum King. It opened daily at 6:30 a.m., and I’d often find myself riding the streetcar to work with someone nibbling Chinese doughnuts, or baked coconut and custard buns, or char siu sou (a type of flaky Chinese pastry rolled in sesame seeds and stuffed with barbecue pork), or egg tarts, or footballs (deep-fried wontons stuffed with meat and shaped like a football)… all things I could not eat.
Back then, I was a sad panda: gluten-free and hating it. I avoided Dim Sum King and its ilk because of dietary restrictions. This practice of avoidance is part of the reason I never thoroughly explored my hood while I was living there. But I’ve reached the point of acceptance in my relationship with gluten, and the longer I’ve been off the wheat, the more obsessed I’ve become with food, all food, including and sometimes especially the stuff I can’t eat.