Got back from Christmas and New Years. It was a difficult holiday as almost everyone ended up with flu. My brother did not; he lives in Shanghai these days, working as a financial consultant. A few things he said I thought were of interest.

  • American restaurant service. “You can’t get service like this in restaurants in China.” That led to the discussion of new immigrants (or in the crude vernacular, fobs), and how long term residents of San Francisco’s Chinatown feel about them.
  • American serving size. “The biggest in the world.” The size of Americans surprised him, after all the years overseas.
  • The diversity of ethnic Chinese foods. He’s very fond of Xinjiang cooking – western Chinese cooking, from the Muslim provinces. “You can’t get that kind of cooking in the states.” Northeast Chinese cooking has a lot of dumplings and noodle dishes. The food seen in the States is largely Cantonese.
  • He was a little surprised at the Sichuan foods I could describe to him. He could name them once described.
  • Not food related but interesting nonetheless: though China has a booming economy, there  is still a lot of unemployment there. It’s hard to put 1.3 billion people to work. Cities of course, are huge. A city of 6 or 7 million people is a smaller city in China.

The diversity of food in northwest Louisiana surprised me a little. Good cheeses, good beers are available in decent sized towns, much less cities. Some of the convenience foods available were new to me:

I’d never thought of canning a roux before.

Locally, I tried these dishes at Fung Mei (yu xiang eggplant (i.e. eggplant with spicy garlic sauce) and shredded crispy duck) and they both were really good.