When traveling home during the summer, I tend to avoid eating Chinese food. It’s not because I don’t like it, but simply because I want a break from it; I want to savor home country delicacies that I miss out on during the rest of the year.
So, imagine my surprise at seeing a sign (pictured above) in southern Indiana welcoming me back to Beijing, thousands of miles away. My mom, my daughters and I were driving past a retail area on our way to see a movie when the sign caught my eye: bright red, in the font that seems all too familiar from the Olympics: “Beijing Grill & Sushi Bar,” right there in the middle of Sellersburg, Indiana.
Sellersburg has a population of 6,317, with the closest big city (Louisville, Kentucky) located 10 miles south. To put things into perspective, Louisville’s population is close to that of Shunyi District. Lest you believe that Sellersburg is an obscure area, PGA golfer Fuzzy Zoeller designed and opened his Covered Bridge Golf Club there in 1994 and hosts an annual celebrity tournament; and of course, Louisville is the home of the Kentucky Derby and numerous celebrities – notably, of recent fame, Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence.
But I wasn’t expecting to see this.
I didn’t dine at the Beijing Grill & Sushi Bar, although the variety of Asian cuisines made me curious; the restaurant boasted Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese dishes. The menu is extensive and the prices weren’t bad. I even saw a few dumpling dishes, something I never recalled paying attention to, nor seeing, before I moved to China. And yes, they had fortune cookies, something I never see in Beijing.
Just as when any kind of American familiarity in Beijing brings a smile to my face, the Beijing familiarity during our summer back home did the same. It’s a small world, after all!
Photo by Charlotte Moreau