Today’s post includes my children’s two favorite things: Chinese mythology and the Perfect Bubble Tea.
My children, The Captain and The Peanut are 50% Chinese. When I first started buying books for them, I looked for books about that huge piece of their heritage, because, let’s face it, it’s not like the white narrative is hard to come by. Chinese mythology and bildungsroman are not easy to find. Their Baba and I found some great little kids books, but as my son grows up, he aches for something more toothsome. My daughter is still happy with kids books about pandas and dumplings. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is pretty spectacular, but much of what he’d like has gone already out of print, and they’re far too young for Snow Crash, AMIRITE?
Not to mention, their Baba is pretty much adoring the search.
We’ve hit a few duds, a few good books, and a few REALLY GREAT books, so far. Today, I’m going to tell you about one of the great ones.
It’s the end of the nineteenth century in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and ghost hunters from the Maoshan traditions of Daoism keep malevolent spiritual forces at bay. Li-lin, the daughter of a renowned Daoshi exorcist, is a young widow burdened with yin eyes—the unique ability to see the spirit world. Her spiritual visions and the death of her husband bring shame to Li-lin and her father—and shame is not something this immigrant family can afford.
When a sorcerer cripples her father, terrible plans are set in motion, and only Li-lin can stop them. To aid her are her martial arts and a peachwood sword, her burning paper talismans, and a wisecracking spirit in the form of a human eyeball tucked away in her pocket. Navigating the dangerous alleys and backrooms of a male-dominated Chinatown, Li-lin must confront evil spirits, gangsters, and soulstealers before the sorcerer’s ritual summons an ancient evil that could burn Chinatown to the ground.
With a rich and inventive historical setting, nonstop martial arts action, authentic Chinese magic, and bizarre monsters from Asian folklore, The Girl with Ghost Eyes is also the poignant story of a young immigrant searching to find her place beside the long shadow of a demanding father and the stigma of widowhood. In a Chinatown caught between tradition and modernity, one woman may be the key to holding everything together.
I listened to this book on audible, and it was, INCREDIBLE. Seriously, Emily Woo Zeller deserves her own Auralgasm post, but this is so far the only book I’ve listened to which she’s narrated.
This book goes from 0-100 in .2 seconds. Lin Lin STRUGGLES, but she also kicks serious ass. She’s no wilting flower. Often, Western culture has this notion that Asian, specifically Chinese women are very passive and quiet. This book laughs in the face of that stereotype. (As does my grandmother-in-law who is simultaneously the most terrifying and hilarious woman on planet earth. Submissive she is NOT!)
Lin Lin’s story is unlike one I have ever read. The writing reminds me a little bit of Terry Pratchett. The creative world building, the character formation, the hilarious sidekicks. However, it’s so totally unique that it stands in a class of its own. I am not spouting hyperbole when I say this book was damn near perfect.
I stayed up all night reading it. COMPLETELY irrespective of my insomnia! My insomnia that night was completely MH Boroson’s fault. Totally.
It’s difficult to review this without giving away key plot points, but let me tell you this, The Girl With Ghost Eyes will entrance you, driving you to turn page after page until you’ve closed the book and lament its ending. While it’s a little too adult for The Captain, it was just right for me.Review! The Girl With Ghost Eyes by @MHBoroson See why you should def read! Click To Tweet
Now? For that perfect bubble tea I spoke of earlier. Funny story, my daughter the other day says to me, “Momma, I’m Chinese. Baba says Chinese people need lots of bubble tea.” They’re enabling each other’s bubble tea addiction. Either way, keeping my kids in bubble tea is pricey. Luckily, I figured it out. Mostly by trial and error, but I did it. The boba are easily found on Amazon. These are the bubbles I use, and the straws.
They’re cheap. They work. BUT DO NOT FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE BAG. Seriously. Follow mine.Bubble tea isn't hard. I can help you make the perfect bubble tea! #boba Click To Tweet
The Perfect Bubble Tea
What Goes In?
- 1 cup tapioca pearls
- 4 black tea bags
- 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup water for steeping
- 1 additional cup of water
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or whole milk
- 2 drops of vanilla extract
- water for boiling the boba
- bring about 8-10 cups of water to a rolling boil
- add tapioca pearls
- stir gently
- bring down to a simmer
- while those are cooking
- steep 4 bags of tea in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes
- stir in 2 tbsp sugar until dissolved
- place in freezer for quick chill
- after about 10 minutes, stir boba again, turn off stove, cover and let sit for 5 minutes
- strain and add 1 tsp sugar
- let chill
- pour boba into three glasses
- add ice
- pour chilled tea evenly over each
- add vanilla
- pour milk and stir.
- serve immediately.