Friday, April 18, 2008


I just got back from Halifax where I went to see my mum for a couple of days since she just turned 65. Which means I'll be 40 this summer. I'm looking forward to it. Maybe I'll finally get a clue (newfie expression) although I'm not that optimistic. So far in this life I've been pretty clueless....

I'm home alone for a while as Tim is in Europe on business. I am still cooking and tonight am thinking of a salmon, asparagus and pasta dish. Or I may just eat out of my freezer. I've taken out a french soup (just defrost, heat, add some dried bread also from freezer, top with cheese and broil) in case I'm not up to cooking. I have 2 large hairy dogs to bathe today so my energy may be used up by the time I think of dinner. Once again, I must stop and salute my freezer. If I don't feel like cooking for the next 2 weeks I'll still eat well. But it's getting warmer and as I mentioned a couple of days ago, my thoughts are turning to bbq. Last night it was so warm and wonderful when I got back here that I took out a steak. It was cool and dark by the time I was ready to cook it so I used my grill pan on the stove but still - my heart was in the right place.

While I was in Halifax we had Chinese food from a place on Robie St. The Silver Dragon. It was really good. Standard Canadian interpretation of Chinese food. Tasty! One of my diner companions commented that she felt there chow mien was really more of a chop suey. I suspect that you can't find either type of dish in China.

Most ethnic foods are 'Canadianized' or 'North Americanized' when immigrants set up shop here. They have to find an interpretation of their native cuisines that meets with the local tastes. I found a big difference between Chinese food in the US versus what I get here when I first moved back home. It's funny, in Europe you are far more likely to get the ethnic food that is more like the original. Some of the best Italian food I've ever had was in Sweden! The Tex Mex I had during my first trip to Stockholm was a bit of a shock though. So imagine what a Chinese person thinks when they eat at a Chinese restaurant upon arriving in Canada!

The popular donair that originated in Nova Scotia came about because the local palette did not respond to the original gyro sandwich. So an immigrant to Halifax changed the sauce to a sweet sauce and the donair was born. Blessed is the need for change! And for the record, I like both donairs and gyros.

I do have two hints for eating ethnic foods. One, keep an open mind. Leave your expectations at the door. Just because it isn't as you think it should be doesn't mean it won't be good. Second, if you see someone of that ethnic group patronizing the restaurant run for the nearest table. It's a sure sign that the food is good and authentic.

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