الجمعة، نوفمبر 21، 2008

Egypt and Chinese noodles*

I was making a dish of Noodles today, when I wondered for a second about the Chinese cultural invasion to our country. You can hardly find something that doesn’t have a Chinese equivalent in the market. And usually customers like to buy these, not only because of its cheap price, but also due to the different varieties offered. Nevertheless, the cultural invasion is not only to devices, plastics or things, but also to our Egyptian food trends. Chinese cuisine, Chinese beans, as well as Chinese seeds for agricultural usage.

Since many years ago, Far Eastern culture, Chinese, Korean or Japanese, has clearly invaded other countries like United States of America; and may be now, as I talk, I remember the first time I realized this fact when I heard a line from the song “The day before you came” sung by ABBA, where they said:
Must have opened my front door at eight o’clock or so
And stopped along the way to buy some Chinese food to go
I’m sure I had my dinner watching something on TV
There’s not, I think, a single episode of Dallas that I didn’t see

And ABBA are a Swedish musical band!.

On a different note, Indomie instant noodles, for example, has became a hitting brand in Egypt for the last couple of years; the matter that pushed few Egyptian Pasta factories to decide to compete in the market by producing Egyptianized noodles, like Regina and others. However, I think it’s a hard competition because just like Pepsi in our culture for soda drinks, or Chipsy for potato chips, Noodles are called Indomie.

I remember a decade ago, it was everybody’s talk about American fast food. Yum! brands and other franchised chain restaurants like KFC, Pizza hut, McDonalds, Hardee’s and Chili’s, were topping all restaurants charts. However, since a couple of years ago, it was everybody’s talk in town about the Japanese Sushi and raw fish dishes. Today, if you visited the biggest Egyptian mall, City Stars, you will find 2 Chinese restaurants standing side by side in the main food court (Panda house and Asian corner), while Wagamama is up stairs in another floor.

In reply to my previous wonders I asked few friends about their opinion concerning instant Noodles or Chinese food..

Dina, a 22 year old friend who started her talk as she Loves it a LOT [geddan] then she added:
First of all I’m a pasta fan and soup fan, and its pasts in Soup. It’s very easy to make and not so high in calories. It tastes good, but it’s addictive.

Tarek also confirmed:
Because it is east to be prepared, and not as light as soup

Eman noted:
Simply it’s cheap!

While Serage, a Libyan friend who lived in different Arab and European cities, as well as Egyptian friend Ghafari said they like it for the many flavors enclosed.

Mohamed also noted:
Ya3ny shaghal [it’s OK]. I used to like the song in Sesame Street: Noodles, I like Noodles, I like I like I like I like I like Noodles.
It is easy, not very tasty, but anyone can do it.

On the other hand, Memo mentioned:
I’ve never tried it in the first place. I don’t eat stuff I don’t know what they are. I’ve seen it, but never knew they are called noodles, and never tried it before.

Noha also told me:
Nah! I don’t like it. It has no vitamins!

Myself, I’ve tried Chinese many times. I liked very few dishes but hated the rest. I’m still not that familiar with sweet and sour taste. But apart from that, stays the question.. till when the Chinese culture will invade our tiny details of life?

Between yes and no, and between strong rumors that noodle’s flavors are not healthy and may lead to cancer; in a cold lonely lazy night.. Noodles is yet the best answer for a quick dinner.

China really found its way among us.

* You can check BBC for Story of Noodles' origin.

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