Helen Pidd writes in The Guardian on the interesting subject of what the Chinese, Indians and Italians regard as exotic food. I was interested in the sticky dried Xinjiang fruitcake sold in Peking. Googling took me to the horse’s mouth, the eGullet Forums:
Jun 14 2007, 03:35 AM
Helen Pidd here. I’m a journalist with the Guardian in London (www.guardian.co.uk). I’m writing a feature about what “foreign” foods are most popular in various countries in the world (eg in Britain we eat Indian, in India they eat Chinese, in Russia they eat Georgian…) and wondered whether anyone in China would be able to help me.
I’m just looking for a China-based, and ideally Chinese, foodie to talk to me about what sort of food Chinese people eat when they go out. Obviously it’s a huge country and tastes will vary, but I’m interested to hear anything you have to offer.
My deadline is the end of Friday 14th June, so any responses very welcome before then.
You can read all the answers she got here, not just the ones quoted (and attributed) in the Guardian article. Her query on Indian food was less successful – no replies.
It looks as if Helen Pridd’s deadlines are even tighter than mine. Still, I was one of the people who missed the episode of Goodness Gracious Me where Indians ‘go for an English’:
A group of drunk Indians decide to go for an “English” at the end of an evening’s drinking in Mumbai. One demands “the blandest thing on the menu”, the women cluck over the waiter’s “lovely pasty skin” and the head of the table orders 24 plates of chips, ignoring well-meaning advice that “you might have ordered too much”.
I found more about the ‘fruit cake’ in a blog search. at Loaf of Bread Car by Eveline, who lives in Beijing:
Anyway there are always all these Uighers in front of the mosque, on flatbed tricycle thingys with a huge tray of this fruitcake stuff that they sell. The fruitcake is really good. It’s not cakey at all but someone called it fruitcake in a book I read so I’m sticking to that name. It’s like, a really densely pressed together concoction of sunflower seeds ‘n’ peanuts ‘n’ nuts ‘n’ dried fruit, held together with something sweet & sticky, maybe honey. & then they stud the whole shebang with rows of walnuts & some sort of red fruit, maybe haw berries (?), so it looks really pretty.