No sense ducking those junk food cravings
“Where’s the beef?”— a dig at competitors’ skimpy, or nearly absent, hamburger patties.
Today, I would be tempted to ask instead, “Where’s the cheese?” And, with equal urgency, “Where’s the bacon?”
Sure, I could quibble as a veteran snack connoisseur about how locally available Pringles potato “crisps”— the iconic, neatly stacked snacks in the protective can— are definitely not on a par with their US counterpart. Or about how it’s nigh impossible to find a decent (that is, suitably crisp and salty) corn chip in these parts. Or even about how a sugar-crazed bloodhound might be hardpressed to find in this fine city aMounds bar, Hostess HoHos snack cakes or colorful Starburst candy chews.
But why digress? It’s better to focus instead on what are arguably the two most important food groups after chocolate: namely, cheese and bacon.
Back in the land of beef where I grewup— Omaha, Nebraska, in the heartyMidwest in the US— I discovered a special delicacy for which I now yearn: a thick, juicy burger topped with a melted mix of sharp cheddar and bleu cheese and a minimumof three thick, crisp slices of the finest bacon. Add a toasted bun, sliced red onions, lettuce, pickles, mayo and mustard and voila: manna from heaven.
In China however, where cheese is not part of the usual diet, it’s generally treated like an afterthought. Order a pizza at most places, and the cheese is a thin gauze through which to viewthe ample other ingredients. Cheese on pizza is supposed to be thick enough that you struggle with a string of gooey goodness as you pull the first slice of “pie” away from its pan mates.
Bacon on a burger is likewise frustrating, when it’s offered at all. Typically, it will be tough and neither crispy nor juicy, and so tiny you’d need tweezers to pluck it from beneath the beef patty.
We must make do when we live in a foreign land, and I have found in Beijing what might be a worthy substitute inmy hour of need— something so delectable I might forget for a moment the clarion call ofmy cravings.
Now, if I can just figure out how to fill this wonderfully scrumptious Peking duck with melted cheese and wrap it in hickory-smoked bacon, I might seek permanent residence here. Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org