Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Five Foods I Hate to Love - Part 3

3. American Chop Suey

("Chop Suey", Edward Hopper, 1929)

At least I spared you the image of this monstrous noodle dish.

How can one love a hot mess of noodles and… ketchup?
Well, maybe you have to be Indian to appreciate this one, but I do love the bed of crispy hot noodles and stir-fried veggies, topped with a tangy, sweet and sour, ketchup and soy sauce mix (and a fried egg!). The sauce softens the noodles directly below creating three distinct noodle textures: the wet, soft, ketchup-y layer, the semi-soft, drier one, and the crispy, crunchy bottom layer. Delicious, I tell you!!

A staple in every Chinese restaurant in India, this can only be a disgraced, third-degree relative of anything in China or even America. The American version served in the painting above presumably contained ground meat, and seems like a different creature altogether.

Chinese food is wildly popular in India, and mostly consists of this more-Indian-than-Chinese variety of dishes that would thoroughly confuse any Chinese or American, or, frankly, anyone who hadn’t grown up with them! Hakka noodles, veg Manchurian, chili paneer and chicken lollipops are some of the names that will bring a nostalgic smile to the face of any Indian who lives abroad. Mmm…. maybe it’s time for an Indian-Chinese potluck?

1 comment:

Nile said...

I LOVE that painting. It's so Mia and Selma = N and N. HOT TO DEF.

I didn't eat that in India - I love crispy noodles but hate anything with that amount of ketchup I can't imagine. You are really a good writer.