Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Quagmire of Lunch

I'm a big fan of Grist. Ask Umbria is a regular video column that this week takes on school lunches (and just the idea of taking your lunch along in general). Today I am feeling particularly guilty about lunch because I ended up taking the D train from my shrink appointment which lets me off on Grand and Chrystie, which means the first four blocks of my walk home is through a stretch of Chinese food shops and restaurants.

Hong Wang restaurant (300 Grand 212-952-1662) is one of my favorite places to get Hot and Sour soup, something I eat maybe twice a year because it contains mystery meat (factory pork). Today I out did myself: for $6.55 cents I sat down and had a huge plate of Singapore Mai Fun. And oh what fun it was. Chewy 5 spice powder flavored pork, baby shrimp and large chunks of sauteed onion and scrambled egg tossed in spicy curry noodles.

The portion was enough for two (I didn't eat all of it). The shrimp were farmed (so long SE Asian mangroves), the vegetables were soaked in pesticides (over 1 billion pounds sprayed on American soil a year) and the pork was tortured and lived in it's own feces in a dark industrial warehouse it's entire life. As for MSG, I'm assuming the unquenchable thirst that I'm now experiencing is because I drank too much coffee this morning and am dehydrated (denial is such a convenient thing).

It was delicious, cheap and totally contrary to everything I go on about here. I do this very rarely. It's been years since I ate Singapore Mai Fun out. I'm going to consider this a break down and work on better self discipline.

Wouldn't it be nice not to have to worry about these things?

The thing is that even if some chef came along and decided to make a Chinese restaurant that only did organic, humane and mostly local, then the Singapore Mai Fun would certainly not be $6.55.

How did we get to this point in history when stopping off at a really good, authentic, Chinese place for a little lunch has become such a quagmire?

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