HomeWayne's WorldThe Secretive World of a Steamed Bun Dealer

The Secretive World of a Steamed Bun Dealer

by Wayne Chan

You ever feel guilty for something you’ve done even though you know you absolutely didn’t do anything wrong?

Let me explain what we did last weekend and see if you’d feel the same way.

From our home in San Diego, my wife Maya and I as well as our son Tyler went up to Fullerton, California for a family reunion. The occasion was to see my Auntie Jen and her family, who traveled from Taiwan to California to meet up with family. We had family coming in from Colorado, the East Coast and from Washington. There were about 50 of us meeting at a fancy Cantonese-style Chinese restaurant and we reserved a banquet room to house all of us.

It was a wonderful get-together, visiting with family we hadn’t seen in years. But let me get to the “illicit” activity.

Somewhere along the way, my Auntie Lucy says that after lunch, we need to stop off at a nearby store and pick up some homemade steamed pork buns. My Auntie Lucy is in her 80s, walks with a cane, and since I was a kid, knows how to cook and find the best Chinese food in every town she goes. So, if Auntie Lucy says these pork buns are good, you know they will be the best.

The only thing is, Auntie Lucy isn’t quite sure about the address of the bun house, but she says my Auntie Ling will know, and she will give us the address and directions. Auntie Lucy insists that we ask Auntie Ling for the address, and that’s exactly what we do.

Once we approach Auntie Ling, she doesn’t actually have the address either, but her husband, Uncle Paul does. He picks up a napkin off the banquet table and proceeds to scribble down some cryptic notes as he gives us his directions to the place.

Right after we finish lunch, we all pile into the car and head for the bun supplier.
Now, you tell me, does the following sound like we’re buying steamed buns, or does it seem like we’re after something much more sinister?

According to my uncle’s instructions, the shopping center we need to go to is just a few miles away. Once we get there, he says that we need to go into the Asian bakery right next to the Asian supermarket and to the back and ask for Stacy.

We go into the bakery, and nobody knows anyone named Stacy. So now, we call our Uncle Paul, and he gives us Stacy’s cell phone number. My son Tyler calls the number and a woman answers. Tyler asks: “Hello, I believe we placed an order for…”, and the woman on the other line says, “Wrong Numbah!” and hangs up on us. Then, Maya calls the same number and starts talking to the woman in Chinese, and now she seems more cooperative. She says that she has our order, but she’s parked in the parking lot and our order is in the trunk of her car.

So, we then drive over in front of the Asian bakery, which is packed with cars, and we don’t see any car with a woman standing by it with a trunk open. So, we call Stacy back.

We tell her we can’t find her car in front of the bakery, and she says, “Too busy there! I’m parked on other side next to bank! Hurry up! Too many people want their orders too!”

We then drive over to the other side of the parking lot, and we see an elderly Asian woman standing next to a small white sedan with her trunk open, with a number of people surrounding her.

That must be Stacy.

We end up buying 33 buns because we get a free bun for every ten we buy. And no, surprise, surprise, she doesn’t take credit cards.

But my Auntie Lucy was right. These are some awesome buns.

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