Sunday, May 07, 2006

Hot and Sour Soup for the Soul

I have come down with a nasty chest infection with a persistant cough. The cough is a bit different from coughs I've had with previous colds, this one sounds like 'cluck, cluck.'

So I decided I needed some Chinese food and headed to Spring Bamboo (Br).

Dubai reminds me of the US in many ways, in particular, that there are so many Chinese restaurants. Most of which have never had a single person of Chinese extraction enter their portals, either as owner, employee, or customer.

In the US heartland, most Chinese restaurants seem to be based on a model developed for serving the British in Canton in the 19th century, so they serve English mustard with everything. So, in the US, we call English mustard "Chinese mustard."

And my father always said that the best thing for a cold was something slathered with "Chinese mustard."

So I dragged myself into the Spring Bamboo (Br), one of the restaurants actually run by Chinese ex-pats (and, I noticed, with almost all the customers Chinese ex-pats).

Unfortunately, no "Chinese mustard."

So I ordered Hot and Sour Soup, which was on the first page under appetizers. The waitress stayed beside me, pen poised, since the Hot and Sour Soup was on the appetizer menu. So I added Hot and Sour Aubergines.

After I'd ordered, I noticed a second pages of Main Course Soups, but I was too embarrased to change my order.

The Hot and Sour Soup was intended as an appetizer. To be shared by four persons. After which I wasn't really up to the Hot and Sour Aubergines, but I managed.

Hot and Sour Soup is perhaps the only Chinese dish I've found that tastes about the same from Dayton to Dubai to Dalien. Other Chinese dishes are remarkably different, with Chinese tourists to the US unable to recognize the US versions. (This chow mein is fiction. Any resemblance to a real chow mein is purely coincidental.) And, as these dishes move to Dubai, the treatment is different still.

Still, I've had curry in China, and Chinese "curry" is as close to curry as Indian "chow mein" is to chow mein. So I guess it all evens out.

But I can still recommend Hot and Sour Soup for a cold.

9 Comments:

Blogger CG said...

A nice remedy for 'gungy' chests:

Thinly slice a red onion.
Place the slices on a small saucer and pour over a couple tablespoons of runny honey. Leave for an hour until it has drawn out all of the liquid from the onion. Drink the liquid (it will taste like honey with a very faint oniony after-twang.)

Good for shifting stuff off kids chests too, just don't show them the onion.

4:00 pm  
Blogger secretdubai said...

A tasty recipe that is miraculously good to sore throats, and most odd of all, appears to have general analgesic effect on the whole body:

Magic cold remedy potion

- Half an Indian lime (or any lime, but the little tiny cheap Indian ones are best), squeezed into a mug, then chuck it in too (the rind is important I think)

- honey to taste (you'll probably want heaps so it's nice and syrupy - at least a couple of teaspoons or more)

- 2-3 dirham-sized slices of fresh ginger


Pour on boiling water, and you're away.

NB: This is NOT the same as "hot lemon and honey" drinks - the lime is a vital, critical difference. Not only does this drink taste far better, especially to taste buds fugged up by your cold, but it has effects that the lemon version just doesn't. Immediate, dramatic effects.

I know this just sounds like some crappy hot honey drink, no better than Lemsip, blah blah, but its effects are dramatic, and I am not sure why. People never quite believe it until they try it for themselves, so it's up to you.

And get well soon ;)

9:51 pm  
Blogger Harsha said...

I just use the usual tablespoon full of a mix of ginger juice and honey, works on sore throats.

9:05 am  
Blogger Harsha said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:14 am  
Blogger Dubai@Random said...

Many thanks for all your suggestions.

7:25 pm  
Blogger Dubai@Random said...

And the comment I deleted was just a duplicate of the first one harsha posted.

7:29 pm  
Blogger DubaiSceptic said...

" And the comment I deleted was just a duplicate..."

Phew - wondered who would post something inappropriate or aggressive in this string! Thanks for the clarification.

10:51 pm  
Blogger CG said...

I too was wondering what obscenities or insults were thrown your way resulting in a deletion...Harsha, you let us down there.

11:13 pm  
Blogger BuJ said...

lol my new neighbour here is called Harsha.. i wonder.. does she blog as well?

her kids most likely do

10:56 pm  

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