Monday, November 04, 2019


Lunch at work is an adventure, given the limitations of geography. Gas station convenience store, grease-burger chain, 7-eleven (Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh!) The gas station store's refrigerators were once roped off by the health department, if that tells you anything.

The grease burgers have absolutely nothing to recommend them.
You don't even get a free toy with your acid indigestion.
I've tried everything at 7-eleven several times.
Alas, no sarson da saag.
Bless them.

It's like being in the middle of Mongolia.

Oh, sure, there's a pretend-Chinese restaurant twenty minutes walk away, and a Panda Express in Marin City (what the hell kind of food IS that?!?), but only a limited pause allotted for lunch, so I have no time to waste on suburban Chinese. Or the nearest Indian restaurant. Which because of even further distance as well as suburbanity isn't an option either.

No taco trucks.

Lunch is, perforce, a quick bite of something "convenient", while ignoring several middle-aged gentlemen discussing squeaky rubber chickens, the coroner's art, and that Palmy is the worst alcoholic and why.
Or, in the case of the bald perv, parts of the body.
And ridiculous conspiracy theories.


In England one will find the Chicken Tikka Baguette at a number of Upper Crust venues near trainstations, which is a far better idea than a fast-food burger and fries. Upper Crust is a chain of bakery bars that was founded in 1986, specializing in French roll sandwiches, and has not made it's way to the Bay Area yet. Chicken Tikka is the English national dish.
Invented by Indians.

Chicken Tikka Baguette 
[SOURCE: Indirectly, Upper Crust.]


In Ireland, the popular anytime sandwich is the Chicken Fillet Roll, comprising deep-fried breaded chicken fillet, sliced or not, on a roll with salad stuff and a choice of dressings. There is also a vegetarian gluten-free version, about which a food war is raging.

Chicken Fillet Roll 


In Saigon and San Francisco, Bánh Mì is the quick delicious sandwich choice, consisting of a Vietnamese baguette with rice flour in the dough, which gives is a lighter more crumbly texture, sliced grilled pork, a smear of butter, crunchy vegetables, sliced green chili, nước mắm, and of course a squeeze of Sriracha. Plus cilantro.

Bánh Mì 


Anywhere near drive-in movie theaters and late night dance clubs you're likely to find the chili dog. It's also the breakfast of champions. Hot dog, bun, chili sauce, melting cheese. And chopped onions.
Your doctor will love you.

Chili dog
[SOURCE: Campbells Kitchen.]


The oyster po'boy is a classic, fondly remembered by everyone who had one at the Polk Street Fair over a decade ago, or visited New Orleans and remained sober enough to make wise choices. Breaded deep-fried shellfish, mayo, crusty roll. What lunch could be like in an ideal world.

Oyster Po' Boy
[SOURCE: Serious Eats.]


As a shout-out to a food god from my neck of the woods, I will also mention the Broodje Jantje classic; a deep fried breaded patty, spicy sauce, onions, on a decent bread roll. It's only available in Tilburg, and is one of the many reasons to visit that lovely city.

Broodje Jantje
[SOURCE: Broodje Jantje.]


This next one is something I have a monumental soft-spot for, it's been a comforting presence in my life for decades. Burger, fries, and a bottle of Sriracha (first appearance of that condiment there was in the late eighties). Helen who lived across the street loathed it then ("oh no that will kill you"), and by the end of the twentieth century poured a bucket or so on her fries ("pass me the sauce, Hon, ah can't live without it").

Sam's Burger 


Definitely in the ranks is a Hong Kong item: the breaded pork cutlet stuffed into a pineapple bun. It's fastfood, it's comfort food, it's convenient when you plan to ascend twenty storey high bamboo scaffolding, or breathe teargas in the Central District, or just before you clobber someone with an iron bar in North Point. Delicious hand-held energy. Along with a mug of hot HK Milk Tea. I get mine at the Washington Bakery and Restaurant in Chinatown, near Chinese Hospital San Francisco, where my doctor and several attentive medical professionals work.


They have Sriracha at the Washington.
In case you where wondering.
And excellent milk tea.

Pineapple bun porkchop sandwich

Expecting civilized chow in Marin is an exercise in frustration, made worse by the boys in the back talking about all the fabulous pasta they had in Italy, the steaks and lobsters in Vegas, and the epic delicatessens in New York.

They also mention Indian, Chinese, and Thai food, about which, very clearly, they know bugger all. Insert snarky comment about suburban food preferences right here.


As an afterthought, if you are in Hong Kong presently, go have something to eat at the Lung Mun Cafe in Hung Hom. Per news reports, mainland-inclined counter-protest thugs pulled a number on the place. Whatever your politics, even if you adhere to the NBA school of quislingism, attacking someone's means of earning a living is not cricket.

Cite: "The vandals smashed windows, computers, surveillance cameras and furniture at Lung Mun Cafe in Hung Hom at about 5am, shortly before it was due to open."
End cite.

Source: SCMP.

Further cite: "The owner has been offering free meals to students at Lung Mun Cafe since August, after learning some of them had been cut off financially by parents with different political views to them."
End further cite, same source.

Lung Mun Cafe
G/F, Yuey Kong Centre,
47 Bulkeley Street,
Hung Hom

Seven days a week, six AM till midnight.

I've heard that their food is excellent.

It was vandalized October 24th.

Unfortunately, they are not located near where I live (SF) or where I work (outer sub-golia, close to anti-vaxxers and cannibals), so I cannot try them out myself, no matter how keen I am to do so. They're a chachanteng and "ice room' (冰室 'bing sat'; meaning that chilled foods, drinks and dairy-rich treats are available, including some very old-fashioned stuff), which so they would be my natural environment, despite my not being anywhere near rioting students in age. Omelettes, borscht, chicken wings, fries.

Plus char siu, porkchops, and spaghetti.

SCMP: HK restaurants attacked over politics.

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