Sunday, June 24, 2007
I love Chinese food. I didn't always eat it, as it wasn't exactly popular where I grew up. I was introduced to it by Del, my Singaporean pen-friend. She came to visit me in Athens some 15 years ago, and was amazed that I'd never tried it despite the fact that there was a Vietnamese restaurant just a couple of blocks from my flat. We arranged to eat there one evening and I still remember what we had: shark fin soup, nem (Vietnamese spring rolls), sweet & sour chicken and szechuan beef. That meal obviously made an impression on me, as I usually can't remember what I ate yesterday, let alone half a lifetime ago.
I was hooked that evening, and went back to that restaurant time and time again with my friends, trying different dishes each time. It wasn't always a success - we once famously attempted to eat some bamboo skewers (the waiter almost collapsed in laughter and I'm pretty sure he cried too). In our defence, the skewers were small and thin, and we'd heard you could eat bamboo, only we didn't know the difference between bamboo shoots and bamboo sticks. We got the hang of it eventually.
These days I have Chinese food at least once a week, and often cook it at home. I love noodles. To me, they're the ultimate comfort food (well, except for chocolate I suppose). It was exactly what we needed today, as it's been cloudy and wet and not like summer at all. To cheer ourselves up we had lunch at our favourite noodle house, one of these places with the long tables and benches that became popular by "asian inspired" noodle restaurant chain Wagamama. "Our" noodle house is part of a much smaller and modest chain called Tai Won Mein, but it serves the best Chinese noodle dishes at very reasonable prices. The portions are huge too, which is brilliant if you've skipped breakfast, as we had. I had a mixed noodle soup (yum!), hubby had beef in black bean sauce, and we shared fried squid and spring rolls. As you can see, we polished it all off - and now feel a little less depressed about summer not making an appearance today.