How I Met My Dinner: Father’s Day Tribute

Jun 14, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Alicia Lieu, How I Met My Dinner

by Alicia Lieu

I recently saw a headline that Nia Vardalos is getting ready to make the sequel to the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The very thought of this sequel instantly took me back to the numerous memorable lines from that movie. Each line was full of humor and wit, and eased the tensions of growing up as a child of immigrant parents in America. It easily tops my short list of favorite movies. I could relate so well to her cultural struggles but in the end, she came to realize what a treasure her family was to her.

The father in this movie was somewhat of a caricature, but always deeply caring towards his family. But if I had to assign a movie dad to my dad, I would choose the father from another one of my favorite movies, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. This was the first Disney movie I remember seeing where the heroine had intelligence and resourcefulness. Belle was somewhat bookish and had stunningly good looks, and her father was somewhat eccentric but a genius.

I am somewhat bookish (although lacking the stunningly good looks part) and my father is very smart (he is a retired engineer, and you have to be smart to be an engineer) but the part in the movie where Belle’s father stops at nothing to find her and tries to get her released from the castle/prison, is what I know my father would do for me if I was ever in any kind of trouble. My father has the calmest and gentlest temperament that a father can have and I think it really kept me free from anxiety and gave me a feeling of security growing up.

I dearly wish I could be with my dad on Father’s Day this year. I would give him a giant hug and then rest my head on his shoulder while we listen to records on his amazing self built amp and speakers. Or maybe play some piano four hand music together. We always double up on this holiday because it falls so close to his birthday. So the next time he flies out to visit me, I’m taking him to an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ place called Picnic Garden in Flushing.


Picnic Garden

I have taken my father out for Shanghainese food when he visited me, the cuisine of his hometown, but I mean, what man doesn’t like unlimited meat? Well, besides the vegans, vegetarians, and pescatarians. Sizzler loses its sizzle next to Picnic Garden. Dozens of side dishes, soups, salads, and fruit, along with marinated beef, chicken, and pork that you grill at your own table. I recently had Korean BBQ at Mandangsui, a place in Koreatown in Manhattan after a successful composer’s concert that I helped put together. It was the world premier of nine new works! What a wonderful reward the concert and Korean BBQ was. And much of my success I owe to my father.

Korean Short Ribs always seem to be the first to go at any Korean meal. They are always a crowd pleaser and will disappear quickly. Often times, you can find pre-marinated Korean style ribs (Galbi) and thinly sliced beef (Bulgogi) at not just Korean supermarkets, but even Costco. But it is rather simple to put together yourself.

Recipe: Korean Short Ribs (Galbi)

3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 onion, minced

3 pounds Korean-style short ribs (beef chuck flanken, cut 1/2 inch thick across bones)


Whisk together ingredients for the marinade. Place ribs and marinade in a sealable bag and make sure to evenly coat the beef. Refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight). Grill the ribs over a medium-hot grill for about 3-4 minutes on each side, turning once, and serve immediately.

Check back every month for Alicia’s next food column & check out past columns in our Food section. You can follow Alicia on Twitter @AliciaJLieu.

Alicia Lieu grew up in Cupertino, California. She has Master’s Degree in Music Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Bachelor of Art from UC Santa Barbara. A New Yorker with the heart of a Californian, she currently resides in Queens, NY and blogs about food in Jackson Heights.


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