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Dearest British Friends: No, the Chinese Don't Like Your Food Either Watch

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    By Xinli
    ECONOMIC OBSERVER/Worldcrunch

    BEIJING - Before even leaving for the United Kingdom, we had already decided to try out the local cuisine as much as possible.

    It shouldn’t be too difficult to avoid Chinese food – even though there are Chinese restaurants in every corner of the world these days. After all, we were only spending a dozen days in Britain.

    British food does not enjoy a good reputation, and we were hoping that this trip would break the myth.

    The French are probably the ones who spend the most time making fun of British cuisine. How bizarre that a nation that once claimed that the sun never sets on its empire does not possess the same conquering spirit when it comes to food.

    No wonder it couldn’t win the respect of its neighbors. Whereas France takes eating very seriously, the British somehow manage to stew every possible ingredient into something grey and unappealing. As long as it’s accompanied with a few potatoes on top, it’s fine for them.

    British food culture is quite contradictory. On one hand the British are the world’s best gardeners and London is renowned for its design. And until about 100 years ago, the UK was still the nation that consumed most of the world’s sugar, tea and spices. But on the other hand, British cuisine is like an outdated part stuck to a machine that operates with difficulty. This is not to say that you can’t find exquisite food in Britain. London has more than 50 Michelin-starred restaurants. However, none of them seems to be serving typical British cuisine.

    But even though their culinary environment keeps changing and evolving, the British remain nevertheless enthusiastic about their national dish, fish & chips. If this is not the collective unconscious expression of their numb taste buds, only British pride can explain such a phenomenon.

    Our “British Cuisine Tour” began in a bed & breakfast near Bath. The cook, who was also the owner, served us a typical English breakfast. In a somewhat over-the-top style, she was wearing rings all over her lips and tongue. A tattoo covered her from the fingertips all the way up to her neck.

    Apart from the tea and toast, there were poached or scrambled eggs, lean bacon, fried mushrooms, boiled cauliflower, two sausages and slightly grilled tomato slices with black pepper. On top of this was also a slice of black pudding and fluffy baked beans.

    I had never eaten black pudding before. At first sight, it looks like the Chinese black rice cake – lightly browned with an oil slick. The first bite also gives the impression of eating rice cake. Unfortunately, an unexpected meat smell appeared immediately, as an after-taste. I glanced around. The cook was just outside the kitchen staring at us, her only guests, looking bored.

    Being watched, I was unable to spit out the food so I asked her what the recipe was.

    This pudding is made of pig’s blood, mixed cereals, minced liver and offal, then filled into a chitterling, which is what a pig’s intestine is called in polite company – and there you have your sausage, she said. According to her the treat goes best with Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce. I certainly wasn’t going to contradict her knowing that it is in small towns such as Bath where people are the most fundamentalist about British food. “You couldn’t possibly find a more authentic English breakfast in London!” she proudly announced.

    However, from here onward and throughout the whole trip, I had to suppress a generous impulse of offering a dozen bottles of Chinese cooking wine to all British cooks. This is a magical and essential ingredient in Chinese cooking, which helps the texture and taste of meat, poultry and seafood.

    Rustic and plain

    Apart from the uniformity of British cooking, the other obvious feature is their passion for the potato. You can find as many as four or five different varieties of potato in any supermarket. Black or yellow, they can be long like a pencil case, or weigh a pound each, or be as small as pigeon eggs.

    We had arrived in Bath at Christmas time, so all the restaurants in town were closed. After repeatedly begging the owner of the bed & breakfast, she agreed to cook us dinner as well.

    We had cauliflower and mushroom soup for starters, and the famous jacket potato – in essence just a baked potato – as a main course. Each buttered potato was wrapped in aluminum foil and baked. Then it was cut open and filled with bacon, lamb, lettuce and peas.

    The second day’s menu was even more rustic. Leftover potato from the previous night was mashed to go with the famous British pie with chopped beef and onion stuffing. It was doused with two spoonful’s of dubious green gravy mixed with some kind of wine flavoring. As tasteless as it could be, the pie’s pastry was also hard and thick. After one bite, my mouth was filled with grease instead of meat.

    To be fair, British cuisine cannot be described as generally tasteless. It is usually made of fresh and reasonably good-quality ingredients. If you like authentic food, you might even find English cooking very satisfying. Nevertheless, I got the conclusion that British cuisine owes its unpopularity to its unimaginative seasoning. Perhaps because of the way the meat is slaughtered, it smells particularly strong in Britain. I can’t help but wonder what happened to all those spices for which the British Empire went to war?

    On our way up to Edinburgh, Scotland, we noticed that all the highway rest stops offer entirely the same food, and the same fast food brands over and over. This is enough to quash anyone’s appetite.

    In China, a British friend from Glasgow, Scotland had told us how much he missed the fish & chips from his hometown. In his opinion, fish & chips from a small port city is much better than the fish & chips found in big cities like London.

    Since we happened to be going to Glasgow, we decided to give this national dish a chance. We chose a small restaurant in an alley just next to the city’s cathedral. It was packed with locals. A few teenagers seemed to be having a good time, eating the fish & chips wrapped in paper.

    If the fish is well fried and crisp, sprinkled with a little lemon juice, it can be quite palatable. However, unfortunately for us, the batter was thickly coated and the cod tasted more like flour than fish. Not tasty.

    Reading our minds, our friend suggested that we try a nearby French restaurant. When the stewed beef with an overflowing aroma was served, I looked out the window and thought: what a wonderful place Britain is!
    http://worldcrunch.com/food-travel/d...iver/c6s11069/


    I realise that the above article is a generalisation of British cuisine but do any of you receive the impression that many non-British people dislike our cuisine? :confused:
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    LOL judging British food by meals cooked at a B&B and the rest-stops on a motorway :rofl: Is that review a joke?

    I miss British food so badly :cry:
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    i can summaries British cuisine in one sentence.
    mince pie, fish and chips, potatoes, more chips, chips with vinegar, apple crumble.


    i agree with the article
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    Well…I know that the Pakistani kids (for instance) at my school can find our food rather bland. And I agree, I do hate black pudding, along with liver and kidney. Bleugh! But then, when non-British people do have our cuisine, sometimes they can be pleasantly surprised. I get the impression people come over, expecting to have roast dinners, full English breakfasts, trifle (I know, stereotypical of me! ) and enjoy the food they do have. After all, we gave the world chips (as far as I know…) and that must surely count for sonething!

    Sorry if this seems to make no sense-I'm tired!
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    Britain isn't the best at food, but there's no need to be such a whiny ***** about it (article writer, not OP).

    And Britain has many culinary greats, including: English breakfast (the most lavish of all breakfasts imo), tea, many awesome authentic bitters, the best hard cheese in the world (Cheddar), a great pie&pastry tradition, and some unique desserts. Most of all we appreciate and incorporate foods and beverages from other cultures and make them our own tradition, which I personally think is fabulous.

    So there.
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    In a somewhat over-the-top style, she was wearing rings all over her lips and tongue. A tattoo covered her from the fingertips all the way up to her neck.
    irrelevant
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    (Original post by IzzySaskia)
    After all, we gave the world chips (as far as I know…) and that must surely count for sonething!
    Belgium did! :pierre:
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    Apart from the tea and toast, there were poached or scrambled eggs, lean bacon, fried mushrooms, boiled cauliflower, two sausages and slightly grilled tomato slices with black pepper. On top of this was also a slice of black pudding and fluffy baked beans.
    We had cauliflower and mushroom soup for starters, and the famous jacket potato – in essence just a baked potato – as a main course. Each buttered potato was wrapped in aluminum foil and baked. Then it was cut open and filled with bacon, lamb, lettuce and peas.
    How bizarre.
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    (Original post by SleepySheep)
    LOL judging British food by meals cooked at a B&B and the rest-stops on a motorway :rofl: Is that review a joke?

    I miss British food so badly :cry:
    Are you in America? :holmes:
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    With asian people finding our food bland, it's probably that they are so used to eating strongly flavoured food that they genuinely can't taste it well. This is a well known phenomenon.

    So maybe our food isn't totally bland, it's just more subtle and we are used to it. I like it, anyway
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    Completely biased review. To judge an entire nations culinary skills by a B&B and motorway fast food chains (which are, on the large, US imports) serves no purpose and the irrelevant reference to the appearance of the B&B owner further proves the writer just wanted to shine a bad light on Britain as a nation.

    Besides, I have ate genuine Chinese food that wasn't served from a restaurant/takeaway and, believe me, a dish overloaded with brown rice isn't as tasty as Xinli would lead us to believe. That said, I'm not as narrow minded as that raving div to judge their food on a few bad experiences.
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    Eh, I hear this a lot, frankly I think it's down to what people are used to.

    I know people that describe Indian food as boring because it all curry and spice, that must be much how people who are used to food full of spice and exotic things find our food. It does annoy me slightly how some people will go on about how 'bad' British food is, but at the end of the day, what does it matter? Whatever nation they're from, they'll no doubt have a much bigger problem than bad food present if you want to return the favour of belittling something to do with their nationality.
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    (Original post by Steevee)
    Eh, I hear this a lot, frankly I think it's down to what people are used to.

    I know people that describe Indian food as boring because it all curry and spice, that must be much how people who are used to food full of spice and exotic things find our food. It does annoy me slightly how some people will go on about how 'bad' British food is, but at the end of the day, what does it matter? Whatever nation they're from, they'll no doubt have a much bigger problem than bad food present if you want to return the favour of belittling something to do with their nationality.
    Well there was no need to go this far .... People are talking abt food and flavours n stuff. Why take it to next level n start talking non sense.
    .... As said by somebody Indian food is all about spices and currys cuz it's not ... Same British food is not all fish and chips there is more to it ... If someone don't knw tell them and seriously speaking WHY even bother discussing food with B&B food critic. He/she needs to go out a bit more to find out what British food have to offer.


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
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    (Original post by Kh4w4r)
    Well there was no need to go this far .... People are talking abt food and flavours n stuff. Why take it to next level n start talking non sense.
    .... As said by somebody Indian food is all about spices and currys cuz it's not ... Same British food is not all fish and chips there is more to it ... If someone don't knw tell them and seriously speaking WHY even bother discussing food with B&B food critic. He/she needs to go out a bit more to find out what British food have to offer.


    This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
    Why did you just repeat my own point back to me?
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    Agree, though without the unnecessary bull****, with the article completely.

    Britain's favourite dishes are:
    Fish and Chips
    Chinese
    Indian
    Pizza
    Kebabs

    Now, wherever you go to pick up any of that from, it's guaranteed that it wont be served to you by a 'British' person. We hate our own food and we know it.

    If it isn't grey and boiled with potatoes on top, it probably isn't British. It's probably the worst cuisine in the world, including American food.
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    Living in China for a year, miss British food so much...School lunches here are AWFUL, and on the whole, Chinese food is disappointing. Meat dishes use bad cuts (really bony and fatty, cut into cubes), rice gets old after a few months with every meal, and noodles are just so, so. Snack foods here are good (and much healthier/nutritious than british snacks). Signature dishes, such as Beijing roast duck, are absolutely delicious. Seafood isn't up to scratch, and loads of my friends have had bad food poisoning because of dirty seafood.

    CAKES are NOT the same. Don't get me wrong, they make nice and extravagant cakes here, but they are too light, and smothered in odd tasting, whipped cream. There just isn't that same level of stodge/sweetness that British cakes have. BREAD is equally disappointing! Fruit here is low quality too.

    Obviously dumplings are nicer here. I recently travelled to Vietnam where the food was out of this world. Amazing, delicious fruit, sensational bread (baguettes that tasted legit and french), and delicious mains.

    On the whole, I much prefer the food of my homeland (as is usually natural), and this article is biased and complete nonsense. I don't just judge chinese food by the standards of my school lunches, and the author shouldn't rely on service stations (which in my opinion serve the worst food in the country, and a B and B).
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    (Original post by tehforum)
    irrelevant
    I wonder why the OP mentioned that.
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    (Original post by noregrets)
    Living in China for a year, miss British food so much...School lunches here are AWFUL, and on the whole, Chinese food is disappointing. Meat dishes use bad cuts (really bony and fatty, cut into cubes), rice gets old after a few months with every meal, and noodles are just so, so.
    Aside from the whole horse meat scandal, which didn't originate from Britain...

    I will actually admit that if sourced properly, British meat/game/poultry/fish/shellfish is fantastic, and I don't think there's anywhere else in the world that has as good quality over such a variety.
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    Should have had a Cornish pasty.
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    (Original post by Rybee)
    Aside from the whole horse meat scandal, which didn't originate from Britain...

    I will actually admit that if sourced properly, British meat/game/poultry/fish/shellfish is fantastic, and I don't think there's anywhere else in the world that has as good quality over such a variety.
    HAHA true, but wasn't this just for ready meals? I dread to think what I've eaten since i've been in China..the meat is always questionable in school lunches lol. Some of my friends down south have eaten dog unknowingly!
 
 
 
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