Shreya Pai: Fine Dining to Food Trucks

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The pandemic has taken 9-year-old foodie Shreya Pai from fine dining to food trucks.

I am a foodie and dining out with my family is one of my favorite activities. I enjoy everything about it -- deciding where to go, getting dressed, watching my mom put on make-up, eagerly waiting to be seated, and feeling happy when it’s our turn.

My favorite is this Asian restaurant with two tall horses at the entrance, with their heads in the sky like airplanes. They look like royal guards! Once they let me in, I soak in everything around me. The bright and glittering décor, people placing their orders, or getting impatient when it doesn’t come, and servers bringing food out (helps me decide what to order). The best part – fortune cookies on our way out!

During the pandemic, we had to stop fine dining. My parents suggested food truck instead. It did not sound fun, but I figured anything is better than eating at home.

The scene at the food truck? Very different from fine dining. It was in an empty parking lot and social distancing meant we had to eat in our minivan. It was dark outside and all I could see was a light shining inside the truck. There was no fancy menu or fine cutlery. No iced water with lemon on top.


My sister and I curled up next to my mom and started to play made up games. It must have looked fun because she put her phone away and joined us.

Our next trip was even better. I put cozy pillows in the backseat and wore my comfiest PJs. We got creative with games and laughed a lot.

Now that we can go back to fine dining, if you asked me to pick one, I couldn’t. They both come with yummy food, and while I like the hustle and bustle of fine dining, I also love the cozy picnics in our minivan.

So, what did I learn? Be flexible and if you get a lemon, make lemonade! This is Shreya Pai with a perspective.

Shreya Pai s a rising 4th grader at Bullis Charter School in Los Altos.