Friday, July 07, 2017


Two scoops rice, macaroni salad, and something with gravy. Or what the Hawaiians call a plate lunch. Don't think Spam. Instead consider chicken katsu with brown gravy, or roast pork with brown gravy, or adobo.

It satisfies the soul. When I worked down in the Financial District I had it a couple of times a month . Not necessarily always from the Hawaiian place, sometimes to-go from the Chinese buffet around the other corner. Fluffy rice, mac salad, and chicken curry or black bean sauce asparagus and chicken (豉椒蘆筍雞 'si jiu lou-suen kai').

There was a woman there with an intelligent round face who always looked vulnerable. During summer her daughter would be near her, probably because there's nowhere to dump a kid when school is out.

She was very nice, and didn't laugh at my Cantonese.
So she was probably from Hong Kong.

Recently I saw an internet poll which asked how people like their rice. It was on a closed site which has only one Asian member, so of course the thirty plus options were a little bit off. I am surprised that the one person whom I know in real life didn't add "galactic over rice" to the list.
As a child, that's what they got from the Chinese take-out.
Beef, chicken, fish, veggies. Anywhichway.
And everything over rice.

As a bachelor, I usually order from the rice plate section of the menu. It's more convenient for the single diner, and you aren't left with little boxes to shlep around while you smoke your pipe afterwards.
At home I often do choi pou faan (菜泡飯), which is soupy rice cooked just right, with some parched vegetables and a little amount of something condimental. Plus a small amount of meat, which is there just for happy. Not a complex dish, but almost infinitely variable.

Choi pou faan is not something you ever see on menus.
It's strictly homestyle, casual eating.
Very comforting.

It's not always solitary food. In my case it is, but it can also be done in a family context, when preparing a full meal would be inconvenient, or not everybody eats at the same time.

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