Cultural Cravings

As I said in an earlier post, the world is a small place.  I can enjoy (if that was ever the case) a McDonald’s burger in LA and in Shanghai, although one might be with BBQ sauce and one with sweet and sour.  And no, I don’t actually eat McDonald’s.  Are you judging me?  I feel like you might be.  Anyways, in a way, it’s a little annoying/disappointing/mind-boggling how easily I can procure American products overseas.  I want to get away from America when I go abroad, but it’s slowly becoming harder and harder.

Those golden arches are everywhere!

At least in China I don’t really worry about souvenirs, since it’s almost guaranteed that someone in my large family will visit China every year and can always bring back something for me.  If I ever feel like adding yet another scarf to my collection of 20+.

Of course, it’s not just American brands that are spreading across the planet.  I remember I bought some clothes in Paris from Zara, before the Spanish chain had hopped over to America.  I always felt très chic when I told people where I got it, but of course what happened the next year?  Zara crossed the Atlantic, and now it’s just as famous as H&M.  But clothes are more transportable than food, so having clothes from a foreign country can’t quite satisfy the same nostalgic cravings I sometimes get for my times overseas.

But once in a while, this spreading of products globally works in my favor, as in I actually get to enjoy something in America that I enjoyed abroad.  Case in point: last night I visited a restaurant I really liked when I was in Shanghai.  It’s called 鼎泰豐(Din Tai Fung), and I am extremely fortunate to live close to the one and only California branch, one of two in North America.  Of course, I can’t trick myself into thinking I’m in China, but it did satisfy that tiny part of me that wants to return to China.  The menu is obviously different (mainly the fact that I can actually read 100% of it), like having more Americanized Chinese food and a very limited selection of tea.  What’s up with that?  I wanted my chrysanthemum tea with rock sugar on the side!  I guess I just have to go back to China for the real deal.