I was advised by a friend in China, on the evening before my flight to Uk, to bring with me 20 boxes of instant noodle “ I care about you,” she said, “ I can’t stand the idea of you being starved there”.
There was an old joke in China, an English gentleman to China and was so amazed by the variety of Chinese food. So his fellow Chinese friend ask him, “what are the typical food in your country?” the English man answered, “well, we have four major dishes: fish &chips, fish, chips, chips&fishes”. And in my middle-school English textbook, there was such description on English culture: “English people eat fish and chips for lunch every day”.
It was not until I came here that I realized everything I had learned about English food in china wrapped up to a big big lie.
I have been here for two weeks, during this time I haven’t had even once Chinese food, not because they are pricy or inauthentic here (which is true, by the way), but because I do not miss them at all. I have been so busy indulging myself in this wonderful land of cuisine délicieuse. Not only has the traditional, and by some extent infamous fish and chips been a crispy surprise, but beans made in so many different ways have also preoccupied every single one of my taste buds. I spent an entire week trying out different types of bread sold in a nearby Tesco, starting from multi-grain, went on to walnut, continued with whole wheat, amazed by nine-seeds… after seven days I still haven’t marched through the top level of bakery stand.
The infinite supply of dairy product in this country made my life a bliss. Without much effort I could find thick yoghurt, thin yoghurt, plain yoghurt, sweetened yoghurt, yoghurt muesli, frozen yoghurt; there are also milk with four different levels of fat contains, sitting next to a long line of cheese that has different foreign names. Each time to the grocery store is an exciting adventure to a wonderland not yet explored.
Simplicity is another charm of english food. To make a heart-blowing potato mash all I had to do was to put a mixture of baked beans, sweet corns and potato mash into the microwave oven for five minutes instead of devoting my whole afternoon on a Chinese fish dish, starting from cleaning up the fish and preparing the chili sauce. A sandwich takes about five minute to prepare while its Chinese counterpart, the baozi, takes at least two hours to make, not to mention the dough needs to be prepared on the previous day. But I am not saying that English food is better than Chinese food, nor vice versa. The fish and chips do not spell out a formidable spirit of English food, just like chicken feet do not make Chinese food full of horror.
However, for me, for now, the English food is irresistible.
- Ye Olde Pub Fish ‘n Chips (cookingwithchar.wordpress.com)