Thursday, December 15, 2022


Yesterday I listened to two Caucasian gentlemen talking about Chinese and Vietnamese food. They come from a position of some familiarity; one of them has travelled extensively, and is married to a Vietnamese woman, the other has spent a lot of time in China. It was interesting, but from my blinkered point of view, ignorant in many regards.
As such discussion frequently is.

I shall now proceed to make whitesplaining remarks about Chinese food. Based entirely on my own praeconceptions, as formed from exposure to Chinatown and Asia. Chinese food is hanging things and stuff that comes out of the sea and a pile of rice. Or wheat noodles, rice flour noodles, steamed bread-like substances, porridge, plus sludge.
Fermented stuffs and some spices come into play.

Without seafood, most of Vietnam, large parts of Southern China, Japan, Korea, and much of insular South East Asia would be bereft, in despair, and heartbroken.
Fish, rice, and a hefty dollop of sambal, are quintessential comfort food. As they should be.
Anyone with Netherlandish tendencies (I am Dutch American by heritage, environment, and language) cannot avoid fish; without the harvest from the seas we would never have burst out of our abysmal soggy coastal swamp to pillage the world and seize Portuguese colonial possessions in the tropics, our greedy merchants might not have been able to afford their lavish lifestyles which included fancy cloth, porcelain, and the paintings of our great artists, and our sourly disapproving churchmen could not have despaired over man's inhumanity to man (something at which we excelled) plus the sinfulness and decadence of modern society (from the sixteenth century onwards), or grown fat and complacent on the spoils of war and commerce flowing into the home country (a ghastly stretch of mud along the North Sea, which we own, and should kick the Brits, Scandinavians, and Latins out of with force, incendiary devices, and the sinking of English fleets in the Medway).

Without the influences from the East Indies, West Africa, and our cesspools of human misery in the New World, Dutch cuisine would be dismal. We'd never have discovered sambal!
It is too horrible to contemplate!

Without fish, there is no civilization.
No pizza, or nasi goreng.
Only snert.

Interior China, stretching northwards into Mongolia and Turkestan, is given over to pork, and lamb hot pot, and such peculiarities as biang biang noodles.
It's almost mediaeval.

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Alcyon said...

"Praeconceptions"? Might I suggest that if "in for a penny, in for a pound" ever applied, it applies now: "præconceptions" might be well used? Nowt like a ligature, I've always said!

If dropped into any coastal, fish-eating area, I myself would give up the ghost before long: I find anything that lives underwater utterly abhorrent, and always have. Spectrum induced sensitivity? Haven't the foggiest. I envy you omnivores!

The back of the hill said...

I like ligatures. But I also like people wondering at the spelling, more noticeable when written with an a and an e. As in mediæval in the text above.

By the way, you might want to skip the double crab post .....

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