Thursday, February 12, 2004

My weakness is cheap Chinese food. Superman has Kryptonite. I have General Tso's chicken.

I can't explain it. At home, I cook almost completely from-scratch. I can appreciate fine wine and beers. I enjoy going out to gourmet restaurants (or gourmet friend's houses - hello Mike) . I never eat fast food and avoid anything resembling Mc-corporate or T.G.I. Applebee's.

So why, every week, do I find myself inexplicably attracted to the cheapest, corner shack, Chinese food?
I mean, I've had good Asian food and I do like it. But there's something about that deep-fried goodness slathered in a sweet and spicy red sauce that just makes me go nuts. I don't know if it's the msg or maybe nicotine in the rice. I can't explain it any other way. I don't think I'm alone though. Genevieve, though she likes good Hispanic food, is invariably attracted to tacky pseudo-Mexican places, painted up in bright colors with piƱatas hanging from the ceiling. With waiters whose first language is probably English, calling you senor and senorita. Places with... taco salads. And we *know better*. I know the food I am getting comes in these big bags, premade and frozen, for them to throw in the fryer and dollop on a bit of sauce and veggies. I know my Chinese place too well. I go there every week on Thursday for lunch. Sure, the guy at the counter speaks very little English, but as I wait there, I've stared at the walls. On them are various photos, tacked up. They depict the opening day of the restaurant. In each one of them, there's a group of Fat-Old-White-Men (FOWM) standing around this mid-40's looking Asian guy. They look like they'd smoke cigars and grab a waitress's ass (except one guy who looks eerily like John Waters). They don't look like they speak a word of Chinese or that they hung around too much after the ribbon-cutting ceremony. I don't fool myself that the food is anything resembling authentic either. In fact, their menu is the same menu used in every-single cheap Chinese place I've been to.

I do often wonder if these places, like the Mexican place might be, are these package deals that get sold to immigrants. Spend a couple thousand dollars and own your own restaurant! Complete with menus, silverware and some sort of starter kit including a cd of bad "ethnic" music, the whole deal. You get off the boat and get a brochure. "Be a successful entrepreneur in the great United States of America!"

I hope no one minds, but I'll end again with another question. I like seeing the comments :)
What is your guilty food pleasure? Don't lie. It doesn't even have to be Fast Food or anything. Just food you know is no good, but you eat it anyways.

One last thing, to one person in particular:
Happy dork-o?