January 18, 2008

Back to Blighty

Filed under: culture,east-west,food — Kim @ 5:17 pm

After slightly more than a year in Dalian, I’m off back “home” to England for a couple of weeks. My university gives me a return flight at the end of every year (when they give you a single it’s time to look for another job) and so on Feb 8th I’ll be jetting off and leaving my poor wife and baby daughter to fend for themselves in the bleak North-East midwinter.

What am I looking forward to? What do I miss about dear old Blighty? Other than family and friends obviously.

Well, I want some good steak and proper bacon. In fact, when I wake up in England I want to have my proper bacon with some free range eggs. Then for my next breakfast I want to have some non-sweet sausages, maybe with some Worcester sauce or some Colman’s mustard. Then some black pudding.

And I want bread and cheese. I want Vintage Cheddar and Cheshire, and some Stilton and Stinking Bishop. With crusty sugar-free bread.

Too much sugar in the wrong places in Chinese cuisine!

And I want some more bread, with hummus and big green olives. And then I want some pasta and pesto with generous sprinklings of Parmesan, washed down with good red wine. And then I want some Tiramisu.

I want, I want!

I want to sit in the pub and drink real ale by the barrelful. London Pride and London Porter, Old Speckled Hen and Old Peculiar, and Bishop’s Finger and Hobgoblin. But, actually, since most good ale comes at almost 3 pounds a pint and since you can get a banquet for that in China, I will limit my pub crawls to a couple of sessions.

The other thing is that you don’t get a wide range of international food in Dalian, so I’ll go to a Thai restaurant to eat some Som Tam with sticky rice and Singha. Then maybe go Greek for some rich lamb stew with Retsina. Then it’ll be time for a Balti and some Kingfisher.

And I don’t want any fish ‘n’ chips. They’re shite.

As you can no doubt deduce, I am an enthusiastic trencherman/complete greedyguts.

Actually, I’ve lost 8 kilos in China over the last 12 months. I mean, I love the wonderful Chinese, Korean and Japanese food here in Dalian, but it’s just not fattening enough. Plus I can afford to play squash regularly here, and go to a very good and nearby gym.

But what else to do in Merry Old England other than to scoff and quaff?

I’ll go to the British museum for a day…the best museum in the world and it’s free! And, if it’s not raining, I’ll make sure to make time for a Sunday morning at the always entertaining and occasionally enlightening Hyde Park speaker’s corner: an unthinkable place in China.

Then I’ll go to some non-censored second-hand bookshops. And I’ll see if there’s any decent bands or poetry readings or political debates, or other such cultural events that don’t exist in Dalian.

Then I’ll do some shopping for jackets and jumpers at Marks and Sparks and get some shaving cream and deodorant at the Body Shop. Fascinating stuff, eh?

My big regret is that I won’t be able to fit in a game of cricket. Now that’s what I miss the most perhaps. Ah yes, I miss the cricket.

And that’s about it really. I don’t miss the telly and I can get the radio and the papers online.

I’m looking forward to it. I like England, although I don’t want to live there any more. Why not is a topic for another post of course.

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