1. Chinese parents are liars. If for instance, you do not like carrots, your parent will not say, “Eat that carrot, maybe this time you’ll like it.” Instead you will hear: “That’s not a carrot.” Once, when a customs officer caught my father sneaking (an undeclared) wedge of pungent Camembert in his luggage, he said, without skipping a beat, “Oh, I had no idea that cheese was a food.” At the dinner table, every declaration he made was to be regarded with suspicion. “Of course that’s not spinach,” he’d say. Once, he said to me at a banquet, “Look! They’ve made that chicken look like a turtle.” (It was turtle, as I found out afterwards.)

    On cilantro.