Coming from a Far Eastern family and growing up in Western countries, my amazing mother does all she can to serve up traditional dishes at home.
However, today for lunch, she suggested a mother-daughter trip to a Chinese buffet in town. We usually complain about the poor quality of the food, the lack of authenticity, whilst secretly loving the greasy, fatty dishes (oi, it is not a habit of ours, so we are allowed to).
A lot of Chinese restaurants and takeaways, at least the “locals”, seem to have very similar menus; chicken curry, sweet and sour pork, chow mein, etc. Why? There certainly are House Specials available, but even these do not really seem like they are stepping outside the box, being the same basic dish, but with more meat/seafood. How come these places, especially the ones that have a large number of so-called regulars, do not experiment more?
At the Chinese takeaway/chip shop where I did my compulsory aged-16-17,-hourly-paid-manual-labour (I think everybody should do it, but I will save that for another post), the employees often got served dinner off the menu. Being mostly Chinese, the owners cooked lovely home-style Chinese food with vegetables from their garden and non-battered fish for us, which was lovely. At one point after dinner-rush-hour, I was fronting the shop whilst eating my dinner. A customer walked in, so I set down my plate to greet and take order. They asked me what I was having and if it was available, and I had to excuse it for being off the menu. So in the end, customers are not afraid of change, and trying new things, so the choice is in the hands of restaurateurs. (Although I am still not sure of that Blumenthal’s Snail Porridge, yeuch!)
Other un-connected food-thoughts of today
- Are buffets really worth it? It is if you are capable of eating a lot, very quickly. Alternatively, you can sit there throughout the whole service, and eat slowly, but that will mess up your eating-times for the rest of the day.
- Vegetarian meat-replacements. Sure, if you are allergic. However, if you choose to lead a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, are you not then already prepared to give up the need for textures like steak and burgers? Without the need for “Facon”, “Tofurkey” and “Soysages”? (The last one, I mean, JAY-zus.)
- The irony in halal/kosher Western-style fast food. Do not get me wrong here, I am all for equal opportunities; but when I think of religiously acquired meat, I think lovely exotic dishes, less “halal Subway” sandwiches. Apparently one can also get a halal burger… with bacon (regular). Roflcopter.