GBA Lifestyle News
By Andrea Lo | May 17th, 2017

All Tea No Shade with Andrea Lo. 

Joshua Wong just did an interview with The Guardian where he waxed lyrical about his love of Hong Kong food.

The student activist said: “Visiting New York and DC — having lunch with think-tank leaders and just grabbing a sandwich and a Coke, without any rice or hot food — why they can accept these things every day for their lunch I just don’t know.”

I know what he means. On a winter trip to Japan, I quickly got tired of the ice-cold components of the exquisitely laid-out bento boxes. I’ve never felt full from a sandwich or a salad, ever. And I can’t understand how people can sustain themselves all morning after a bowl of cereal (ughhh).

I grew up with the belief that hot dishes — Chinese soups in particular — are good for the body. It rejuvenates and replenishes. It makes your skin glow, your hair glossy (or so they say). It is the answer to all of your problems. After more than three days without a piping hot bowl of Chinese soup, I start feeling ill.

It’s not just a hot food thing either. In a normal week where I only dine out once or twice, I tend to have home-cooked Chinese food — noodles, rice and soup up to five or six times a week. Even when I went vegan for an article I was writing, I ditched the likes of paleo and couscous in favor of fake abalone and choi sum (with soy instead of oyster sauce).

And in fact, whenever I travel — especially outside of Asia — I’m known to pack a Cup Noodle or two in my suitcase (don’t laugh). I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. 

I wonder if there’s something in our genetic makeup that makes us crave the food from our own culture and background. At a dinner last month, the conversation turned to the foods we loved. A guest, who grew up in Europe with traditional Chinese parents, mentioned that her father always needs to have rice pretty much for every meal — despite the fact that they had lived outside of Hong Kong for decades.

What I found really interesting is that the dinner guest whose dad can’t go without rice, said that given a choice between that and potatoes, she would always go for the latter. 

I guess we all have the tendency to crave comfort foods — the kind that we grew up eating.

Do you have a go-to dish that you can’t live without?


Love it? Hate it? Tell Andrea all about it: