Why are the sal­ads I buy from the su­per­mar­ket al­ways so close to spoil­ing?

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A few rea­sons. The main one is that Hong Kong im­ports more than 90 per­cent of its food. When our food sup­ply chain is so built about fly­ing food from all over the world, it’s pretty tough to guar­an­tee fresh­ness. Add to that food which sits in hu­mid Hong Kong wait­ing to be picked off the shelf, it’s lit­tle won­der that your sell-by date is less of an ad­vi­sory and more of a red line mark­ing when your mesclun mix goes from crisp leaf to brown soup.

Then there’s the fact that sal­ads just aren’t a very Chi­nese food­stuff. Sorry to all raw food ad­her­ents out there, but the tra­di­tional Chi­nese be­lief is that food just shouldn’t be eaten un­cooked. Wis­dom holds that it’s li­able to cause stom­ach up­sets and worse—a be­lief likely orig­i­nat­ing from an age of dirt­ier wa­ter and worse food prepa­ra­tion stan­dards. And in many cases, cook­ing your veg­gies—as long as you don’t badly over­cook them—re­leases nu­tri­ents by mak­ing them more di­gestible.

In re­cent years the govern­ment’s tried to en­cour­age lo­cal or­ganic farm­ing, and while it ac­counts for a tiny pro­por­tion of our daily food con­sump­tion, there re­ally are com­pa­nies work­ing to make good veg­gies a re­al­ity. The city’s wet mar­kets are, of course, a bet­ter source of fresh pro­duce than any­thing you’re likely to grab out of a bag at the su­per­mar­ket. And these days, a ris­ing num­ber of stalls are sell­ing or­ganic grown-in-Hong-Kong pro­duce that could hap­pily grace any salad bowl. – Salad Daze

Not that Hongkongers haven’t been on board with salad for a while, in their own spe­cial way. Ex­hibit A: the Pizza Hut salad bar. When Pizza Hut first in­tro­duced its salad bar con­cept to the city—long be­fore it went to China— Hongkongers em­braced it with open arms, and bel­lies.

The rules said that you could eat as much salad as you could fit into a bowl. And so we be­came ex­perts at salad en­gi­neer­ing, can­tilever­ing let­tuce leaves out of the bowl so as to pro­vide a wider sur­face area for what came next. In this city of im­plau­si­ble sky­scrapers, is it any won­der that we can con­struct tow­er­ing ed­i­fices of tomato, of cu­cum­ber, of cau­li­flower—of the stuff of life it­self?

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