Because it is compulsory to go to a supermarket anywhere Naomi and I travel to, I got to see the varieties of potato crisps on the shelves. No mere salt ‘n’ vinegar chippies for the Chinese! Alongside the shelves of knock-offs, there were cucumber flavor potato chips from Lays!
Normally if I had a craving for cucumbers and potato chips at the same time, I’d have gone and bought cucumbers and potato chips. But the damn Chinese, they think of everything, including combined cravings for cucumbers and potato chips.
And while chicken-flavoured snacks are not new, they’ve gone one better, the Chinese. There were ‘crispy drumstick flavor’ potato crisps; For tomato-flavour afficionados, there were ‘cherry tomato flavor‘ potato crisps, and if you fancied BBQ ribs… you get the idea.
No, wait. There was the big daddy of them all – Italian Red Meat Flavor. Though what animal the red meat was from wasn’t specified.
We also saw more of Stefanie Sun’s photos in the one supermarket than anywhere in Singapore. She’s selling all manner of foodstuff in China, and classier ones too (if you consider Lays classy) compared with what Gong Li (the unintelligible woman in Miami Vice) is flogging – some orange flavoured biscuits which look like if you ate them, you have to pamper yourself after with L’Oreal products.
I have a friend who wouldn’t have minded us buying her some Stefanie Sun (red meat or white?) flavoured snacks, nor Gong Li scented ones, but that’s another weird story I don’t want to get into now.
But then you’d want to forgive the Chinese for all their weirdness because in Shanghai, you can get a really decent Italian lunch for under S$15 at this place called Da Marco’s, which, after eating, we discovered to be within the building we were staying at, and needn’t have had to walk out in the rain bitching in the first place.
Being the gluttons that we were, we over-ordered of course and had to take out half a pizza, half a plate of fusili and a quarter slice of lasagne, then we spent a minute deciphering the Filipina waitress saying ‘fapeow mum’ repeatedly when we paid for our meals.
Turns out, or at least I’m guessing, she was asking Naomi if she wanted an official receipt.