5:47pm Friday 4th January 2013

Over the years, we have seen a big boom in the mass popularisation of Chinese food: all the high streets boasting of Chinese takeaways and the odd fancy restaurant, which a whole family can enjoy. It’s become a norm to have it on a Friday night; it’s more of a tradition really.  Why do we like Chinese food so much? Why cant we just stick with the ‘ole fish and chips?

I asked some of my friends, who like me enjoy eating Chinese food along with other things. I asked them, whether it was just the actual taste of the food they liked or if it was the culture that was attached with it, that fascinated them i.e. things like fortune cookies and eating with chopsticks.

Sangeeta (15) who also is a Redbridge youth parliament member replied: “I really like Chinese food because it’s really delicious. I also like it that they give fortune cookies because they are amazing. They also give free prawn crackers, which is a plus. Sometimes they give calendars when it’s the New Year”. She then continued to give me a list of all the Chinese food she enjoyed eating. It included ‘sweet and sour chicken’, ‘Pork balls’ and also ‘Sesame chicken’.

I then asked another friend Rumaysa (15) and asked what she liked about Chinese food.  “I really enjoy looking at all the different colours and studying the culture, I have a few friends who are Chinese and I always try and learn more, for example I’ve done a few things like doing a Chinese calligraphy course and thanks to them I now love eating dishes like Chicken Manchurian and Chow Mein. Also being a nut allergy sufferer, it’s hard to find food which I can eat but Chinese food is so adaptable, I can just alter the recipe according to my tastes”.

To get another opinion, I asked Margaret (15) what she thought about this mass popularity of Chinese food. She said “People like Chinese food for a reason: it’s diversifying and people genuinely like the taste. Also it’s so different from the traditional fish and chips and pie and steak, it’s from the Orient and along with the food, China has this rich history, which attracts attention. Chinatown is so different to Trafalgar Square and I think that’s why we like Chinese food. It’s a completely different culture, and as humans we all love to experiment and eat nice food”.

So maybe it isn’t just the food that attracts us, it’s everything else surrounding it. The next time you go to a Chinese restaurant, try and notice whats around you. You’ll be surprised by what you find.


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