Comfort Food

Our first year in China, we could never find decent beef. This is probably a reflection of resources and economics: in a land where every inch must be devoted to growing food for people, beef has far too low a conversion rate to be feasible for feeding people.

One time during our first year here, on a trip to Shanghai, we were a bit surprised when our Chinese host took us to an American steakhouse to eat. But that sirloin steak tasted so good I even ate the gristle! Later, back at the hotel, when I confessed what I had done, David grinned and replied, "Me, too."

Since then, we’ve had the good fortune of learning where to buy beef in our city. Good beef, even. So yesterday I bought some nice beef, and we had dinner together with some friends — steak, baked potato with all the fixin’s, salad, bread, good wine, brownies and milk. Comfort food! Something very quintessentially American.

Then today, I’m in Hong Kong. More American food! Lunch was salmon on salad at Hard Rock Cafe (fixed very nicely with herbs I might add); dinner was soup and salad at Outback. You don’t realize how nice a creamy soup can be until it’s been more than a year since you had one! More comfort food! Sometimes comfort food can be nachos with sour cream and homemade chili, too.

So, exactly, how would one define, "comfort food"? Food from one’s own culture, something that might be fixed in one’s own home. Yum. As much as I love cai xin, qezi bao and ma po dou fu — and even if I learn how to prepare them properly — they will never be comfort food for me.

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1 Comment

Filed under Food and drink

One response to “Comfort Food

  1. Alex

    2008 update:  This blog entry was written a couple of years ago.  I neglected to mention where one could get some tasty meat in Guangzhou.  In my opinion, the best beef to purchase in GZ to cook at home comes from Metro.  They have some Mongolian beef that has never been frozen, and it\’s delicious.  They sell a whole tenderloin for about 95 RMB per kilo.  I usually slice it myself and divide it up into meal size portions.  The best restaurant for steak is probably Madison\’s, which is near the Garden Hotel.  The restaurant with the best Baby Back Ribs is Danny\’s Bagel, which is on Huang Pu Da Dao in the Home Mart Building ( Hui Jia Guang Chang).  Danny\’s also does a great Bloomin\’ Onion!  In the meantime, the last two times I tried to go to Outback in Hong Kong, it was a huge disappointment.  Besides being very expensive, the service was poor and the food wasn\’t good.  Somebody in management there is trying to cheapen the cost and sacrificing quality in the process.  The Outback in Causeway Bay was by far the worst "steak house" I\’ve ever been to. 

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