Sunday, July 24, 2005

Chinese 101: no thank you

Hunting for new recipes, I started browsing Martin Yan's China Town cookbook for some oriental tastes. Most of the ingredients look standard. A lot of the meats, fish or poultry first get a coating of cornstarch. The oriental taste seems to come primarely from the sauce: some soy sauce here, some satay sauce there, and a few spoonfuls of fish sauce, oyster sauce or hoisin sauce.
Fortunately, our neighborhood has a large Vietnamese and Chinese population. We have two 99 Ranch (oriental) supermarkets within a 5 minute drive. I always found a visit to 99 Ranch an interesting tourist attraction, where you can pick your live sucker fish and have it butchered in front of your eyes. Or choose the smiley frog with the nicest legs to be disjointed and ready to be seared in a garlic butter sauce. (On the other hand, the strong smell that hangs around the supermaket has been a bit of turn of.) As we were strolling around the aisles on the look out for hoisin and satay sauce, I realized I could pnly read about 25% of all the products in the supermarket. Come on now! I understand the clientele is 90% oriental. But give me break! Allow a 'whitee' to understand what he is buying. In Belgium, there are three official languages: Dutch (Flemish), French (Walloon) and German. Laws are written and published in all three languages. People are expected to know the three languages, so shopping in Liege, you should not be surprised to read all in French. The point is there are three official languages. In the US, the one and only official language is English, not Spanish, not Chinese, not Ebonics. Every product should therefor at a minimum have one word in English explaining its content. (It is probably good marketing anyway.)

1 comment:

shanghaimm said...

Martin can't cook

上海不眠夜Sleepless in Shanghai