Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Asian soup

Saying that the Germans eat a lot of pork would be an understatement. Germans are obsessed with pork. Pork is their drug. At the supermarket you'd have a small section for poultry, a tiny section for seafood, and like 3 whole aisles for all kinds of pork. Okay I might be exaggerating, but not by that much.

The Germans are so smart that even if pork didn't exist, they would have invented it anyway. That is how much they love this meat.

In our cafeteria, we have a salad bar and 6 dishes you can choose from. You can be pretty sure to have at least 3 pork dishes, 1 soup dish, and 1 vegetarian dish. If I'm lucky, the last dish would be fish. On my unluckiest day, the last dish is also pork, so I'd have to go for the veggie dish or worse, the salad bar. The only good thing about the salad bar is that it's self-service, so to make my money's worth, I'd pile up all kinds of greens and tuna and corn and red beans in my bowl until it looks like I'm about to hibernate for the winter, and I don't even like red beans.

So the other day I went to the cafeteria and saw "Asian soup" on the menu. I was intrigued. One soup that represents 60% of the human population, encompassing thousands of lands and cultures, from the Mongolians to the Persians, from Vanuatu to Kuwait, from Kamchatka to Uttar Pradesh. One soup to rule them all. The Asian soup.

"This must be a very good soup," I whispered to myself. So I decided to take it.

The soup was murky, so I couldn't really see what was in it. All I knew was that there was no meat in it, so it certainly didn't contain any pork.

Then came the moment of truth: the taste test. I closed my eyes, took a spoonful of it and sipped, expecting to embark upon a gastronomic journey across a multitude of exotic cultures with layovers in the desert of Jordan, on the high mountains of Bhutan, under a papaya tree in front of Angkor Wat, deep into the rainforest of the Borneo, in the wilderness of Fiji, and in front of a mosque in Turkmenistan.

Well, I was utterly disappointed.

The spoonful of shit I just put in my mouth was so called the Asian soup because it had rice in it. Yeah, they put some rice in a soup, and decided to name it "Asian soup". The Germans could have engineered a coconut tree into a space shuttle, but they seem not to be able to grasp the simple fact that Asia is so motherfking ginormous that it's impossible to blend and strain all of us into one soup. The funniest thing is, I'm pretty certain that the "Asian soup" I have eaten cannot even be found anywhere in Asia, try as you may.

If the tables were turned and I were to make a "European soup", I wouldn't even know where to start, because the name itself would make zero sense. What do you put in a European soup? Maybe three teaspoons of economic crisis, an ounce of unreliable currency, and a dollop of dwindling younger population to sustain the workforce?

Yeah, now if only there were a supermarket where I can buy those ingredients for my soup.


Sir Pök Déng said...

Sama juga di Malaysia.

Nasi goreng yang ada 3 ketul daging sebesar ibu jari = nasi goreng daging.

Substitute that daging with small pieces of sotong = eureka! Nasi goreng sotong!

Seems legit.

WP said...

Hahaha...but you know, the moment I hear "Asian soup" in a European kitchen, I start to be skeptical... I mean, if they can't think of any name for their soup other than "Asian", something must be wrong.

Kahuna said...

Pok Deng: At least with nasi goreng daging/sotong, the name is not completely misleading since it does contain, albeit too little, daging dan sotong. With Asian soup, it reeks of stereotype and ignorance, and not at all fitting.
'Disappointment soup' would have fit better.

Kahuna said...

WP: Exactly. This is what we call an unimaginative chef.