Living in China, a foreigner will occasionally crave a taste of home. Unfortunately if you’re an Englishman like me, you’ll probably find it hard to get any real English food unless you live in a tier 1 city like Beijing or Shanghai (with the exception of ‘Fish and Chips’ done awfully, that’s everywhere).
Of course, this is not a total disaster because Chinese food is absolutely amazing and diverse; meaning that most of the time you’ll be happy to eat that instead. However, you will still sometimes crave a taste of home, regardless.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Western restaurants seem to follow an unwritten rule stating that there are only three countries in the world - Big China, Little Japan and Foreignerland (a.k.a America). Sometimes Korea gets a mention these days; but let’s face it, the average Chinese person’s geographical knowledge can be found wanting at times. Hopefully a few foreign holidays will fix that.
Thus almost every Western restaurant will offer the same old menu with a burger, a pizza, club sandwich, spaghetti bolognese and quite possibly not much else. Not unlike most hotel room service menus across the world.
One sometimes wonders if this ultimately means that there is an unseen official list put out by the party restricting the variety of Western dishes that can be served in any restaurant; or if people just aren’t so creative. It’s probably the latter as the mere thought of Foreignland offering more than a grand total of 10 dishes would shatter the belief held by many of the excessively nationalist sort that Western food is always really simple, boring and that Chinese food is superior in every possible way.
Yet in this case, the example of Foreignerland food presented really is very, very simple; but it tastes wonderful. If it wasn’t such a ballache to eat with chopsticks, most Chinese people would probably love it. English food may be really simple most of the time, but it is good quality, comfort food that even the worst chef couldn’t possibly get wrong.