Western Foods I Crave

Royal Burger at Hergetova Cihelna

I’m back with another edition of what makes me nostalgic while in China, this time covering a very important topic I somehow totally missed in my other post.

F O O D .
(Don’t worry, I’ll write a post about everything I love about China, despite what you may think from all these nostalgic ‘murica posts.)

I definitely consider myself a foodie—the type that doesn’t cook but instead takes any opportunity to go out and try new foods, drinks, and places, usually by myself but happy with the right company (can’t waste the opportunity on a non-foodie, of course).

I mean, just take a look at my Swarm check-ins, and you’ll see that I visit café after another in a span of a few hours in one afternoon—or, in the case of China, milk tea shop after another.

But even all the milk tea in the world (and that’s saying something) simply can’t negate the longing I have for two large scoops of creamy, mouthwatering Richardson’s cookie dough ice cream in a waffle cone for just $5. For that price in China, I can get one grande cappuccino from Starbucks, 1.5 large Gong Cha red bean bubble tea drinks—or six red bean buns, but that’s not the point. Nothing in China matches the diabetic deliciousness of Richardson’s. (Outside of China, however, it would have to be Turkish delights.)

Associated with this particular craving are the memories of making the long drive to Richardson’s with my family friends in Boston. Miss you, guys!

Turkish delights at the Egyptian Bazaar
Turkish delights at Istanbul’s Egyptian Bazaar.

Another—perhaps cliché—food I miss? BURGERS. IN ALL THEIR JUICY, MELTY MAGIC. Specifically, Boston Burger Company’s Hawaiian burger. No joke, if you haven’t tried one yet, find a way to go ASAP. Or at least before you die. Meat in China is either untouchably shitty (see below) or ridiculously overpriced. And even though Burger King and McDonald’s exist and are quite popular everywhere outside the U.S., their popularity is only justified from the lack of a Boston Burger Company. Or Shake Shack. Or In-n-Out. Or foie gras-stuffed burger from Prague. Sigh.

Raw meat in shop in Guangzhou
Come and get it.

But something I didn’t expect to miss as much was a good coffee shop. Specifically, Pavement Coffeehouse in Boston. Sure, by now I’ve definitely found some decent Western equivalents, but having developed the habit of café-sitting while in college and especially last summer, I catch myself thinking about Pavement’s iced chai lattes, chocolate chip cookies, and heavenly lox bagels. OMG. (If you can believe it, I’m writing this post after indulging in a huge meal. #foreverthinkingoffood)

Generally, it’s those typical Western foods that are harder—whether physically or financially—to get here. Why spend $5 on a tiny slice of “chocolate” (whatever the sugary brown mess this particular place called it) cake when you can buy 10 buns with—get this—RED BEAN MOCHI (!!) inside from Aeon supermarket?! So much LOL. Can you imagine my utter delight in making such a terribly wonderful discovery? I can’t get rid of my red bean obsession, if you haven’t noticed.

Kafelaku Coffee
Kafelaku Coffee’s “chocolate” cake doesn’t taste like chocolate at all.

Even those somehow tasty salads from BU’s Loose Leafs have me occasionally craving something other than rice, noodles, or buns.

Spicy beef noodles from work
Spicy beef noodles from work.

So that you don’t think I’m a total fatass, I also crave a good apple. Among the other basic necessities (safe tap water), I miss being able to buy a bunch of small, organic apples from MOM’s (hipster organic market in Maryland) and eat them without scrubbing intensely and peeling it out of fear of ingesting #China.

But hey, I really can’t complain. I’m finding my own share of amazing food here in China, and I know that I couldn’t live with myself if I had to go back to the milk tea desert that is Maryland.

Gong Cha red bean bubble milk tea
Forever obsessed.