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Food Friday: Western Food

7 Oct

For the foreigner abroad, eating out is always an experience. But sometimes, you just need a burger. Homesickness gets at everyone and when faced with yet another unidentifiable dish of peppers and something, your resolve to only eat local dishes crumbles. It happens. No judgment here: I lasted about two weeks before going after Western-style food with a vengeance.

The best so far is a chain called Pete’s Tex-Mex. Mexican style food is all but impossible to find abroad in the East – the fact that there’s five of this chain restaurant here in Chengdu made me very happy. The cheese is okay, which is another unusual thing here in China. (In general, it is very hard to find good cheese and importing it is a special kind of nightmare.) I have no pictures of my delicious delicious burger, mostly because I ate it before even thinking about you guys. Sorry, but that was one good burger. Handmade bun, too! The fries were okay. Well, they kind of tasted like school cafeteria fries, but whatever, I had a delicious burger.

Next up is another chain here in Chengdu  called Grandma’s Kitchen. They have a couple nearby, but I keep going to the one over by the embassy. It’s a cool location, very chill atmosphere.  Excellent coffee. Unfortunately, the food is okay. I had a chicken club sandwich and then a grilled cheese on my second visit. My overall impression was blah.  Better fries, though.  The Bridge Cafe is judging you, Grandma’s Kitchen. (For the record, my grandmother would be appalled at what comes out of your kitchen and then storm in to make things better. I’m about three mediocre dishes away from doing the same.) However, I have been told their weekend brunch is something to write home about. I’ll have to try it soon, I guess. The prospect of pancakes intrigues me.

Last, but certainly not least, is my new favorite restaurant, Cacaja, an Indian place. Yes, I realize that Indian food does not count as “Western”, but think on this oh wise ones: India is Western to China. I mean, in Journey to the West, Monkey and Tripitaka are headed for the Little Western Heaven, which is in India. I’m just saying all this because I had the best curry ever at this restaurant. Oh man, it was spicy with well cooked meat and not over-stewed with a side order of naan. And samosas! I freaking love samosas. I have no real desire to visit/live in India, but if it mean I could eat samosas every day, I would make a serious effort to doing so. For those poor wretches who have never consumed a samosa, it’s a like a spicy potato and veggie fried dumpling. I’ve never had a pasty, but it works on the same principle. They’re even good cold, so I took the remainders home and snacked on them later when I was hungry.

Unfortunately, eating Western means paying a premium, even for stuff that is sub-par. You’ll be paying Western prices for a sandwich. Seven bucks doesn’t seem so expensive until you consider the relative prices for things. Coffee is the worst, though. But that’s for another week.