By Wayne Chan
We’re on our 6th day of an amazing stay in Italy’s famed Amalfi Coast.
The sights are amazing. The people are friendly, and the food is out of this world.
Pizza and pasta – what more could you ask for? Who doesn’t like pizza? Who doesn’t love pasta? It’s like I’m in a pizza and pasta heaven. Don’t even get me started on the variety of the pizza and pasta – whoo whee.
Every variety of pizza imaginable – margherita, tomato with mushroom, salami, all cheese – you name it, they’ve got it. And the pasta! Holy cow! There’s fettuccini, spaghetti, rigatoni, pici – every shape and size possible.
It’s a pizza and pasta wonderland. Yup – that’s right, I can eat pizza, or I can have pasta. Ahhh….
OK, if I’m being perfectly honest, while I do love pizza and pasta. After five days of only pizza and pasta, something happened to me. There was an ache, not just in my stomach – it was more palpable than that. It was a longing, I suddenly an urging, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
So, I turned to google, hoping to figure out what ails me. I entered in all my symptoms, and it popped up right away. I double-checked with ChatGPT, and it immediately came up with an answer. It was so simple and it was right in front of me.
I was suffering from…I believe the condition is called – DWS. The clinical term is “Dumpling Withdrawal Syndrome”.
Here’s the clinical definition of DWS:
DWS: Medical Diagnosis – Malady where patient develops inability to digest non-Asian foods, Onset of symptoms typically occurs on the 5th or 6th day of Asian food deprivation. Common symptoms include night sweats, severe irritability, irrational aversion of restaurants with names ending in “…ini” or “…oro”, coupled with an unreasonable disdain for any food that would be awkward to eat with chopsticks. Diagnostic tests often show DWS patients suffering from low levels of MSG and hot chili oil.
So, now that I knew what was wrong with me, my mission was to find a cure. The problem was, it was our 5th day in Italy, we had taken a ferry to the island of Capri, and there was nothing but pizza and pasta in sight.
But then, Yelp came to the rescue. Yelp and its ready list of available restaurants immediately found what I was looking for – there was a Japanese sushi fusion restaurant in the area.
It didn’t matter that we had to find an elevator to take us to the top of Capri (and pay for the elevator too. It didn’t matter that we had to walk past 50 pizza and pasta places on our way there. It didn’t matter that it was a warm, summer day since we also passed by 30-40 gelato places on our way there to help us cool off.
The bottom line is that my DWS condition was about to be addressed.
We walked into the place and were handed menus. My lovely wife Maya ordered a plate of sashimi and a sushi roll. I decided to address my medical condition directly and ordered some shrimp egg rolls and most importantly, some shrimp and vegetable dumplings. Doctor – heal thyself.
As I anxiously awaited my food/prescription, I wondered what would happen if I hadn’t found this restaurant and let my DWS amplify. Would I have run into the next “…ini” ending restaurant and threatened him if he didn’t take some spaghetti and add some eggs, sausage, green onions, and soy sauce? I don’t even want to think about the ramifications.
The food arrived, and there was, predictably, a sigh of relief. As I bit into the first egg roll, Maya asked me how it was. I said the filling tasted like mashed potatoes. As for the shrimp dumplings? Shrimp-flavored mashed potatoes.
It didn’t matter. I dipped each dumpling in soy sauce and swallowed each shrimp-flavored mashed potato dumpling with glee.
On to Switzerland next – fondue and rösti – bring it on!
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