Beijing Backpacking, Day 8: The Chinese Take On The Western Menu

China's take on the world can be just as good as the world's take on China
China’s take on the world can be just as good as the world’s take on China

ON TUESDAY we landed ourselves in a Western land of Chinese taste for dinner. Daring to go deeper, we found ourselves in as deep a heartland as we could find the next day. Well, this time, we’ve taken this one full circle – now exploring how the Chinese take on cuisines from around the world. And this time, it’s for one of my favourites.

Unsurprisingly, this is in the part of Beijing dominated by hotels, expats and foreign companies – most of the clientèle would be looking for some homesick feed. But this is nonetheless quite a cultural experience for anyone who wants to see the other side of the coin to wondering whether the food at your local Chinese restaurant is authentic – because we’d be sure that the Chinese are wondering that too for the cuisines that they see.

I could say that it does ring true for the Mexicans to an extent. The tacos here are quite similar to the Mexican pub food in Sydney – and (to a lesser extent) in Mexico itself. But lest this drift to becoming a food blog, one note on the culture. The waitress who served us was Mexican. I ordered in Spanish – hey, one of my intentions for this trip was language practice! – and after the order came, she apologised for some reason, saying she didn’t speak Chinese. She was quite pleasantly surprised to hear someone speaking her local tongue in such a place far flung from her home. Just one way to make someone smile. But fancy running into a Mexican in Beijing? Truly symbolic of a global city.

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