as it was my sister's 40th birthday yesterday, we were obligated to follow up on her suggestion when she said she wanted to have some dim sum. so the whole family packed up in my sister's car as she drove us to chinatown. we ended up eating at hei la moon (88 beach street), which is convenient because there's a parking garage upstairs and an asian supermarket around the corner. china pearl used to be my dim sum restaurant of choice, but it was always claustrophobically crowded and occasionally wouldn't have some of my dim sum favorites, like tripe or chicken feet. my last visit was more than 4 years ago, when i went with pau.

we ordered way too much dim sum, but it's been a while since my parents had it, i think as far back as september 2010. the place wasn't crowded when we arrived (we got a table on the first floor, not the basement), but crowded up over time. i talked about how donald trump had a phone call with the taiwanese president, which broke away with decades of china-us protocol. i don't agree with trump on nearly everything, but i think if he can normalize relationship with taiwan and hopefully allow the country to gain its independence, i support that cause.

after we finished eating, we asked if they validated parking. the cashiers and attendants were sort of rude, ignored our question at first only to tell us no. what they didn't say is the supermarket around the corner does validate if you buy more than $100. also the cashier took our money but didn't give back the change until i asked her. maybe we'll go to a different dim dum venue next time!

at c-mart i bought some ingredients for making korean kimchi. they had a sale on napa cabbage (38¢/lbs.), and i also picked up some garlic chives and a large daikon radish.

my sister's essential oil diffuser arrived last monday, but she didn't pick it up yet. i was dying to try it out so with her permission we filled the water tank and added a few drops of essential oil. i had a small container of cedarwood oil i wanted to sample. it smells terrible in the bottle, but i was hoping maybe the diffuser would unlock some of the supposed fragrance. when i turned it on, the smell was something awful, and i immediately dumped out all the water and cleaned the diffuser. stay away from cedarwood oil. my mother kept on telling me that she had a collection of essential oils herself, but i didn't believe her, until she brought them out. some she purchased while in egypt, while others she bought here in the states. in total she paid around $300, for items she didn't even have a use for. but now with a diffuser, she wanted to try some sandalwood oil. that turned out to be a better smell than cedarwood. she was only supposed to add a few drops, but she ended up pouring in more than that, which made the fragrance even stronger.

i managed to haul my kimchi ingredients back to cambridge, including the large head of napa cabbage, which i somehow stuffed inside my backpack. i also brought back the asian pears, which i will add to the kimchi for an even more traditional flavor.