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Why use a fork? - the daily diet of a hapa Nisei Nikkei who doesn't like to be called that


I recently had an epiphany-like moment while eating a street taco in Boyle Heights that I had an eclectic multicultural daily life. I live in a nearly all-Japanese tenant apartment building (5 out of 6) with my Japanese mother in the predominantly Hispanic Boyle Heights. For breakfast, I will usually have rice and miso that my mom made the night before or bread from the Chinese bakery Kelley's in Monterey Park; for lunch, seaweed salad, broiled salmon, and rice my mom packed for me, and if I'm lucky, Trader Joe's hummus and pita chips to snack on; and for dinner, King Taco tacos if I come home late. I wanted to capture some of my breakfasts, lunches, and dinners through digital photography so I did. It's on ongoing work in progress. Through this process of eating and documenting, I ask myself if anything "ethnic" in the United States loses its authenticity. For example: Is Japanese food in the U.S. less Japanese? Does my being half Japanese make my experience of eating Japanese food less authentic (as opposed to someone whose parents are both of Japanese descent)? Enjoy. Feel free to share your comments. -- Victoria Kraus --

Slides in this album 

Aoi Chicken Bowl

Small, $3.95, on north side at E. 1st Street in Little Tokyo, and tasty too.

Aoi chicken bowl
Contributed by: vkraus

Aoi Chicken Bowl (with ohashi)

I prefer using ohashi for many reasons. Click on the item to read why.

Aoi chicken bowl (with ohashi)
Contributed by: vkraus

daikon itame, miso, gohan

Mom's home-cooked meal (because I've yet to be responsible and adult enough to cook for myself, as of 10/2006)

miso, gohan, daikon-chikuwa itame
Contributed by: vkraus

1st Street tacos in Boyle Heights

(click on item to read more)

1st Street Tacos - Mexican style
Contributed by: vkraus

1st Street tacos hot off the grill

Your choice of beef, chicken or pork with as much topping and salsa you want. $1/taco.

1st Street tacos handmade, fresh, hot off the grill
Contributed by: vkraus

Taco Mexicano

No forks provided.

"Taco Mexicano"
Contributed by: vkraus


Located on East First Street, just east of Soto, in Boyle Heights. The only Japanese restaurant in the neighborhood and has been open for over 50 years.

Contributed by: vkraus

Otomisan udon with chicken

Hot udon noodles in fresh soup with a spoonful of "negi" (green onion).

Chicken Udon
Contributed by: vkraus

Otomisan Condiments

Shoyu (soy sauce), regular and less sodium, miso dressing, tonkatsu sauce, and El Tapatio. Only in L.A., probably.

Otomisan condiments
Contributed by: vkraus

gyoza, gohan w/ umeboshi, tofu "sarada"

Mom's home cooking. The ups of living at home.

gyoza, gohan w/ umeboshi, tofu "sarada"
Contributed by: vkraus

The Weiner Pan at Yamazaki Bakery

Sold only at Yamazaki Bakery in Little Tokyo. (Different versions of the "weiner pan" are also available at most Chinese bakeries throughout Southern California)

The Weiner Pan from Yamazaki (formerly Ikeda) Bakery
Contributed by: vkraus

Album Type

online exhibition

vkraus — Última actualización Ene 12 2017 6:00 p.m.

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