When “tuyo” is fried in a high-rise apartment, the smell of gas leak and cadaveric decomposition becomes a legal problem

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Gloria Lim and her husband Michael are in trouble. They are being sued for $75,000 by the nuns of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart congregation for violating a building rule that prohibits the cooking of “smelly food.” —Philippine News / Philstar (01/15/08, Pastor, C)

The NY Fire Department was called by building residents because of stench which emanated from the Lim’s 16th floor Manhattan apartment. The awful smell alarmed neighbors who thought there was a decaying body in the building. The firemen broke the door and found that the odor came from “tuyo”—- fried dried fish (herring or anchovy) which is a common breakfast food in the Philippines.

Cooking “ethnic” flood is a common problem particularly during winter months in high-rise buildings when doors and windows are generally shut tight. Any smell from a housing unit can be magnified and bother a lot of neighbors. Though others can tolerate smells of certain food, it is better such malodorous food must be avoided.

Gloria Lim, the pissed Filipina who has been in the US for 30 years must know better. She must be considerate to her neighbors who can’t take the peculiar smell of “tuyo.” The strong fishy odor which sticks to clothes is cumbersome to remove—entailing more laundry or visits to professional apparel cleaners. It is understandable that residents who haven’t experienced such an olfactory oddity from a peculiar food may panic believing that it’s from a gas leak that’s ready to explode or from a dead human body or animal decaying in the building. That’s precisely why buildings have rules to protect the common interest of residents. Cultural sensitivity and respect must be observed in communal living where people of different races stay together. (Photo Credit: Mando Rukot) =0=

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