Nov 15 – Had a ‘simple’ lunch today in a little Teo Chew porridge shop in Mentakab. There were 9 of us and we shared the food which included chicken, fish, eggs, tow foo, salted vegetables, pickled vegetables, foo chok, mushrooms, pork, long beans, spinach and 3 other vegetables which I had trouble naming. In total, there were 12 dishes for the 9 of us, not to mention 2 types of fruits for dessert!
It was a simple lunch for the Chinese who always had the fascinating obsession with food. Only the French could match the Chinese in terms of uniqueness in the cuisine but they lose out in the sheer amount consumed. The Saudis probably will pack their tables with more food but they will never match the variety that the Chinese has. This fascination for food is what makes the Chinese unique.
You will be able to find 24 hours eateries in all Chinatowns and in all Chinese cities, the emphasis is nothing but food. The Chinese often greet themselves “Have you eaten?” instead of the customary “hello”. It is likely that food was hard to come by in ancient China and when you have the opportunity to consume, you feast. But in today’s modern times, food scarcity could hardly be an excuse. Maybe old habits die hard. The only real explanation for such gluttony is perhaps it is the real secret to happiness. “Eat, Drink and Be Merry”.
Sometimes, this simple pleasure that the Chinese enjoys put them in a very bad light in the eyes of other cultures especially where you have wealth disparity. A meal like the lunch I had, would looked like a month’s supply of food for the deprived and the famished. Others would think that the Chinese are such greedy people or show offs.
It is difficult to break away from one of the oldest culture in the world but sometimes we would need to scale down on such excessive traits. I did not really enjoy the food but lunch was more of an opportunity to enhance the social ties.
Well, it was a good lunch and I consoled myself that at least it is not game meat or meat of an endangered species.