I was sixteen when I left Singapore to attend the university in Boston. To combat my homesickness I surrounded myself with many Chinese students from Taiwan. This was not by design, but rather they were the students from Asia I found sympathetic to my loneliness. It was the mid 1970’s and China was at the end of its cultural revolution. Nixon had just visited the then reclusive regime, and there was a lot of anxiety among my Taiwanese friends about the survival of Taiwan and their own future. The Republic of China (or Taiwan) was about to be abandoned diplomatically by America. Amidst all these development my Taiwanese friends would gather at comforting and bountiful meals to calm each other. Food was the salve that soothed everyone’s nerves.
In most Asian household fish paste is normally bought from the fishmongers because it is presumed to be a laborious proposition to make at home. In fact there are many specialty stores in Asian cities offering only fish paste and fish balls. These stores are often known for their own signature variety of fish paste or fish balls. But it’s surprising to know how easy it is to make fish paste at home.