Following on my earlier post on Chinese tourists and food in Europe, this analysis of the White House State Dinner for President Hu by the very expert Fuchsia Dunlop is pertinent.
It would be fascinating to hear what President Hu actually made of the dinner. . . . perhaps he has cosmopolitan tastes. Many Chinese people, however, especially those of his generation, would be less than delighted with raw salad and goat’s cheese, and with the prospect of eating a whole slab of beef, even if the meat was well done (rare, pink-oozing meat is an atrocity in terms of Chinese gastronomy). The main complaint of Chinese gourmets when it comes to ‘Western food’, though, is that it’s simple and lacking in variety, as I’ve mentioned before. And, reading reports of the banquet, I couldn’t help remembering an article in the Guardian newspaper of former President Jiang Zemin’s visit to London in 1999, which mentioned that the personal belongings that had accompanied him to Buckingham Palace had included ‘boxes of Chinese food’. I had a sneaking suspicion that the poor man, subjected to days of unfamiliar food at unsufferable banquets, was expecting to have to resort to snacks of instant noodles every night before bed.
Read the whole post, including the White House menu, on her blog, Fuchsia Dunlop. And if you don’t know her books, you are in for a treat.
- Why do I write about food?
- Another Voice on President Hu’s White House Dinner