The phrase “not too sweet” is the ultimate compliment used in my family of avid Asian dessert enthusiasts. Ranging from red bean buns to fluffy ube cake, I’ve been introduced to a wide variety of Asian flavors from an early age; despite this exposure, my younger self was hardly impressed. Instead, I vied for what I considered to be the (literal) cream of the crop – ice cream. Though I enjoyed it throughout the year, ice cream almost always punctuated the summer nights of my childhood. My parents, either voluntarily or after constant pleading, would drive me and my brother to a nearby Asian mart, where we would excitedly pore through freezer bins chock full of icy treats.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve outgrown my previously strong affinity for ice cream, and leaned back into the semi-sweet realm of desserts. I now enjoy the foods that my parents introduced to me as a child, and have since adopted the same “not too sweet” mindset that they carry with pride. It wasn’t until last summer, which I spent studying in Korea, that I revisited my previous habits. After long days of going to class and exploring the city, my classmates and I would end the day with a trip to the convenience store, where ice cream bins reminiscent of my hometown were stored. The whole experience felt nostalgic, which ultimately made me reflect on my childhood and the prospect of leaving it behind.
The next several months will be the last ones I spend in Washington state before I move away for college. Here, April is a month of climatic change, and throughout the past month, the weather has noticeably started to shift. The notoriously rainy, wind-ridden days are becoming replaced with short pockets of sunshine. Tree pollen has invaded my face, forcing a constant state of itchy eyes and a runny nose. And as I approach the final summer of my childhood, I’m starting to yearn for those warm nights spent digging through ice cream bins. Though I now appreciate the mild, earthy flavors typical to Asian desserts, I hope to once more revisit my childhood indulgences before I leave for good.
Cover Image courtesy of KoreabyMe