Blog

Li

Sundays are quiet in the tiny farm town of Council in Central, Idaho. A quaint Main Street is devoid of activity, save one man — Li, standing outside the only Chinese restaurant in town. Li invites Jeff and Karen into his restaurant — a converted bar complete with green Naugahyde bar stools and a pool table. A sign out front offers “Free Pool!” to customers. There is no menu at Li’s. Li is the owner and only employee. Once he has you seated at a family style dinner table, he asks what you like to eat. “Sweet or spicy? Chicken, beef or shrimp? Vegetables? Rice?” Once the basics have been established, he steps behind the bar and begins cooking. Li is originally from Shanghai China. All of his relatives still live there. He makes a modest living with his restaurant, fueled 80% by tourists. He says “Local people like to eat at home. Summers are good, Winters are hard.” He lives in an apartment above the bar across the street, and his 12 hour days are dedicated to a son in college and one in high school. When asked if Jeff may take his photograph, he flashes a shy grin and says “Thank you, thank you.”

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