Gastronomic Deja Vu

Descending to the basement for the food court, none of the colorful signs existed to stir your appetite. Quite opposite, it’s all white-walled, white-lit,  cramped with a dozen Chinese food stalls that have evidently been here for a while.

A typical diner here comes from the same province as the origin of the stall. The food court resembles a Chinese satellite map that demonstrates live of different customs, climates and locals’ behavior, almost in a funny way.

On a hot summer day, Sichuan folks gulp down Mala stew covered with red-hot oil with Zen, no sweat is shed. A foot away Southerners at the ice stall impatiently trying to cool down and think Sichuanian are ridiculous. Next stall, Henanians believe proper use of Chinese herb in hot soup would remove the cranky Chi. Tienjin people simply have all their dishes cold, except for dumplings. Uygurs from Xian exotically chew cumin lamb burger with steamed cold noodles… etc, etc. Oh, Taiwanese are just fascinated to observe their blood-brothers now there’s no Taiwan Strait in between.

The eaters are all brought here by their gastronomic memory, brought back again by obsession. It’s a free ticket home in no time. They rush in with saliva stimulated, walk out relaxed after that curious urge is relieved.

They probably won’t cross the border to experience other province’s nonsense. You could, though, easily walk through the isle and sample Mainland’s indigenous flavors in the Flushing Golden Mall.

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