October 19, 2008

In Search of Sustenance

You would think that feeding oneself is a pretty simple concept: I am hungry, therefore I eat. But I swear it seems more complicated than this.

Each night, pretty much, I venture from the apartment to find some dinner. Now we have plenty of grocery stores here, easy and convenient. But we haven't stayed anywhere long enough to build up a pantry. And in the current place we're in, we won't. We also have an oven (too hot!) and two electric burners, but that's it.

So when I want something to eat, it's usually far easier, and cheaper, to go out to one of the dozens of restaurants nearby than to cook something. I can get barbecued pork and rice, for example, for around $3.

We keep milk (which is very expensive -- about $2.50 a quart) and cereal and yogurt and bananas in the house, but not a whole lot else. That's fine for breakfast, and even lunch, but for dinner, I want something that's going to hold me most of the night, since I'm up until 7 a.m.

I also need something that I can eat cold, if need be (see kitchen limitations, above).

When I go out, I sort of have an idea in mind: The soup place below and next door, the new (to me) malaysian/chinese laksa place. Once, when I went to Kowloon side to pick up the keys to the apartment, I brought back Thai satay.

There are many choices, to be sure. But there are more places that offer unknown choices. I think the soup place also has real food -- there are picturse of vegetables (ok Chinese broccoli and kale, the only real vegetable available) and I saw the owner eating something that looked like fish and rice. But when I went there, they told me they only had noodles. The woman who runs the place doesn't speak much English, but maybe I'll try to ask for something else next time.

A majority of the small restaurants only have window signs in Chinese. The might have menus with some English on them, but then I feel committed and what if it's too expensive or I don't like it? (Although in reality, neither is likely.)

Tonight I ventured a little farther afield than usual, in search of barbecued pork and rice. (Last week I found the barbecued pork, and chicken, but it came without rice -- it was just a butcher stand, apparently). I went in a direction I don't usually go and didn't come upon a barbecued pork place (They are the ones that also have the barbecued ducks hanging in the window).

But I did find a Thai stand. I'm ordered Thai green curry. I asked for rice, and they seemed baffled as to why I'd want that. I just like it that way. I also picked up a bag of fried squid. That would have been tasty if it wasn't lukewarm and a little soggy. I may, indeed, drag out the frying pan and see if I can crisp them up tomorrow.

The curry has chicken in it -- parts, anyway. I think I found a foot. I don't really want to know what's in it, honestly. But it's very tasty. Although I don't see it keeping. I don't mind cold Chinese food normally -- the Yang Chow fried rice Paul and I like, filled with little bits of pork and egg and other things is just fine cold. But cold curry, not so much.

If we ever get into a long-term apartment, or are sure we're staying here longer than another week or two, I will buy oil and pasta and rice and spices. And a microwave.

And then, presumably, it won't be such a big deal.

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