A wonderful read from Fuchsia Dunlop, reprinted from August 2005…
“Chinese stomach” is such a curse from my perspective. I think about the diversity of foods from so many countries, cultures and sub-cultures that we are able to enjoy here.
I’d probably be wrong if I were to say that all the top chefs here could go to China and appreciate a sampling of that country’s various regional cuisines. But I think the majority would be excited to try and would enjoy their experiences.
I think most Western chefs benefit from being exposed to many different tastes from various cultures, just as we are here. Colonial/imperialistic ventures from the past, immigrants, cultural upheavals and/or osmosis, etc. all play into the broader exposure in many Western countries.
China’s relatively insular politcal policies, as well the Chinese desire for societal self-sufficiency and maintaining cultural integrity obviously plays into the “Chinese stomach” issue.
I’ve mentioned before how my Chinese-Malaysian Father-in-law has this condition. To make things worse, we live in the Westside - not the Chinese food desert it once was, but still - his refusal to eat most foods that are outside of his comfort zone is an extreme limiting factor when he visits. His wife/my Mother-in-law ends up cooking quite a bit. Give the lady a break - she’s on vacation!
Yu Bo apparently kept on that path.
It would be supremely interesting to see if they have changed their opinions at all 10 years down the line.