Day 210: Going The Distance

by Sonia Su

Yay for spontaneous trips!

Before heading to work, my mom told me that she had to pick up boxes of orange chicken in Philadelphia and no one else was available to do so. (For those of you who don’t know, my parents own and run a wholesale food-and-supply delivery company.)

Would I like to go?

Faced with the oh-so-difficult dilemma of staying at home for another lazy summer day or exploring Philadelphia’s Chinatown (I hope you caught the sarcasm), I immediately agreed. Since it was easier for her to leave straight from the warehouse after she was finished with her morning duties, I went with my mom to work. Unlike the other day, I did do something to help while waiting for my mom at work. But for the most part, I passed the time Facebook messaging on my laptop. #summer

Soon enough, we were off on our two-hour drive to Philadelphia. Why this unassuming warehouse on the outskirts of Philadelphia’s Chinatown is the only one in the Northeast (or perhaps even the East Coast) to mass-produce the orange chicken that one particular customer wants in Maryland, I…don’t know. But it certainly was an interesting place, with a little market tucked inside, as well.

Philly warehouse and market

The closest facility that produces the orange chicken that my parents’ customers need.

When the business part of the trip was done, we headed to the heart of Chinatown. As luck would have it, the restaurant that my parents are fond of and my mom wanted to take me to is closed on Tuesdays. Thanks to Yelping while on the drive to this place, however, I had briefly searched for restaurants and offered that we go to a pretty highly ranked one around the corner.

And Yelp proved to be a great source. Upon entering and seeing quite a few white faces, my mom automatically pegged the place for a “white” restaurant—if you have any experience with Asian parents, you would know that it meant my mom thought the food was not good enough for Mainlanders but “American” enough to cater to the tastes white people like in Chinese food.

Once the food arrived, however, I felt a smug sense of joy. The food was amazing. Based on Foursquare reviews, I ordered the shaved noodles with peanut sauce for a shockingly low price of $3.50. One review did mention how it would be enough despite the price but I naturally still had doubts.

It came in a small bowl, but by the time I was barely half-way through, I was already full. Who knew such a small bowl could be so surprisingly filling? And I can eat a lot for my size, but I just couldn’t finish it. The noodles were clearly fresh. The sauce was not as peanut-y as expected but overall, I would order this again.

Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House

Thank you, Yelp and Foursquare, for the yummy recommendation.

Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House

Small scallion pancakes packed with flavor (and oil…).

As usual, whenever we visit a Chinatown, we must get at least a few boxes of sliced chicken, duck, etc. And so when my mom saw one with some pretty good-looking meats hanging in the storefront, we walked in.

M Kee Restaurant in Philadelphia

Array of meats hang ready for chopping at M Kee Restaurant.

In addition to boxes of meat to take home, amazingly cheap and delicious items from a Chinese bakery are also necessary.

Mong Kok Station Bakery in Philadelphia

I could eat these every day.

Mong Kok Station Bakery in Philadelphia

We bought a ton of stuff…

We stopped by a random market, too, where I saw a wall of some of the best Asian candies from childhood.

White Rabbit candy

This is one of the best Asian candies.

Asian candy

Wall of Asian candies.

But the one thing I looked forward to the most was one of the first things that caught my eye while driving into Chinatown: milk tea from Kung Fu Tea.

Kung Fu Tea Philadelphia

One of the first things I spotted while driving through Philadelphia’s Chinatown.

Kung Fu Tea Philadelphia

Not sure if I love Kung Fu Tea or CoCo more.

So much food in such little time, but somehow, I still managed to break a personal record at the park with my friends after the trip in the evening.

One lap around Centennial Park is about 2.5 miles, and ever since I reached my goal of running one entire lap without stopping, I have been dreaming of running two laps nonstop. Somehow, I did it. And it felt amazing.

TWO LAPS NONSTOP. #monsters

TWO LAPS NONSTOP. #monsters

The crazy thing is, I feel like I could have gone even further, but just the fact that I did two laps without stopping made me so excited and happy that I didn’t even think about running farther until after I had stopped, Snapchatted my accomplishment, and started walking back to meet my friends.

Next goal: three laps, or ~7.5 miles!!

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