Monday, June 15, 2009

Grandma's Gonna Be Pissed to Hear This One

The Singaporeans at work told me today (and last Wednesday and the Monday before that) that American food is extremely boring.

I stood there dumbfounded (the first time). I felt as if someone had just kicked my grandmother. Who says such things?!

All of the girls in my office have made this comment. They are all in agreement. So technically, all of them kicked my grandma. I decided to do some probing before some bitches went down.

Me: Why do you think it's boring?

Singaporean: Because every American restaurant you go to, it's the same menu lah. Always the same ting (Singlish for "thing").

Then she listed the menu items she always saw in American restaurants.

The most common offender:

I can't say they're wrong here. I'm pretty sure EVERY restaurant that isn't Italian, Mexican or Chinese in the States has a cheeseburger/hamburger on their menu.

Crap. They got me there.

So I loaded my guns and was ready to make liars out of them all.

Me: Ok fine. That's true, but at least what they do serve tastes good.

Singaporean: No lah. It's so bland. Everything just tastes like nothing.

Me: That's so not true!

I stopped right here and went through a list of American foods in my head to unload on them. This is what popped up.

Holy God. Everything is white and the main taste is salt.

I so lost this one.

After living here, I could totally see how this is boring food. The people here eat very, very spicy dishes and a lot of dishes with sweet sauces. Also, black pepper here is not a seasoning. It's a main ingredient in several sauces. They have Black Pepper Beef and Black Pepper Chicken. The sauce is black with how much black pepper they put into it. It takes a minute to realize that it's an intentional flavor and someone didn't just accidentally knock a whole pepper shaker into your food. Once you get past that, it's quite delicious. Except when you bite down on a peppercorn. That is not awesome.

Then there's the chilli pepper. It is the mother of all ingredients in Singapore cuisine. If it's not in the food, it's a condiment on the side just waiting to jump in. It's a kick in the mouth. This would kill an average American's taste buds as if they'd poured acid into their food. Most people I know can't even eat a jalapeno or a jar of spicy salsa without chasing it with at least three Dr. Peppers.

We like salt. We like cheese. If we're feeling crazy, we like ketchup AND mustard. We live on the edge....the edge of the kiddie pool.

Now I know I can't speak for all Americans. I'm making a huge generalization here.

But I don't know the rest of you. You have to fend for yourselves.

(On a side note, I know that in the US we have Cajun/Creole food, Tex-Mex, BBQ, etc. However, those are not foods that are made in every state. Therefore, every state cannot claim them as their own. I have to go with what every state can do and use single items as a representation of the entire 50 state contribution. I hope you understand.)

(Also, in the effort to not offend the girls in the office. They are not bitches. They are very sweet. They mean no harm in their hatred of American cuisine.)


My Three Sons said...

I'm going through my head and all I can think of for foods with a kick is BBQ Briskit and Chili????

Other than that, it is chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, chicken, pork chops.....Sorry, can't help you out. But just don't forget, American food is also comfort food and we can't go wrong with that!

Now how about a Tippens French Silk Pie?? Did you ever get the pleasure of trying on of those? I'm not sure what part of KS you are from.

So we Americans' can have wonderful desserts!

Cori said...

Interesting....I'd never thought of what you're saying, but they are kind of right. But I like American food. It rarely offends, you know?

Carolina Girl said...

Girl, you send them over here to the Carolinas for some shrimp and grits, Low Country BBQ, she-crab soup, red rice with sausage and red velvet cake and then we'll see what they think! =) I know this is specific to our area, but these girls need to come visit! ha! Now I'm hungry. LOL

I like your blog, btw!

B-Mom said...

Sadly, even most Mexican, Italian and Chinese restaurants have hamburgers and chicken strips... :(

Brad Farless said...

I don't think you can really call biscuits and gravy something that's common to all parts of the US, as it's a traditionally Southern dish.

Also, the US is so big, and "American" food varies from region to region. I don't think it's fair to exclude regional foods, because some of the spicy dishes they serve in Singapore are regional Chinese foods too.

You're right though. On average the food here is a heckuva lot spicier than what you'll likely find in an American diner.