A craving from the far side: An Irishman in Hangzhou and a Chinese lady in Dublin.

HIMSELF: Ah the things I still miss most from Ireland make me realise I can be very one-dimensional in my ways.  Sad to say but seriously a day without a mug of golden coloured Barry’s tea , with its warming aroma, is just a day incomplete. Call it a caffeine addiction of whatever you like, but this deep-rooted cornerstone of my life brings habit and sense of purpose to the day…..

…..And you haven’t had a real bag of crisps (or what the Americans call ‘chips’) until you’ve gorged your way through a bag of Tayto, and not just one pungent crisp at a time, but a whole handful (as much as you can cram into your mouth in one go), and not one bag at a time, but quickly followed up by a second bag as well….. finger licking good, deadly! (Irish speak for brilliant)…..

…and then there’s Guinness, Ireland’s black beer. I miss the smooth creamy fresh taste of a Dublin pint… I have, to the point of despair, like more than once, watched yer man down in our “Sham” of a pseudo Irish pub here in Hangzhou, the Shamrock….. pouring a pint with all the finesse of a donkey .  No skill level whatsoever, non comprendo that pull is directly related to quality, creaminess and smoothness. “Don’t pour it in one pull” I silently beseech him, “what’s the rush?“. But, then again he likely knows that Guinness just doesn’t travel well.  Maybe it’s the potholes on some of the more rural roads between Dublin and Hangzhou, or the swirling about in the kegs, but by the time it appears in China .. Well, put it like this there is nothing quite so awful to drink as Guinness gone bad! 

HERSELF: Curious about what locals from Hangzhou crave for when they go to Ireland? I have been pondering the answer to this question for years….. Well, read no further.  I just received the following phone messages from WJ, one of the Hangzhou Municipal Government’s finest and brightest, who is in Dublin for a training course that will keep her there for the whole summer.

Date: 17th July:  Location: Dublin to Cork inter-city train:

09.15 hrs (Dublin time):

If it is not too much trouble please bring me some sunflower seeds, dried beef, packed preserved eggs , and most importantly vacumn-packed sweet and sour Wuxi pork ribs. Thank you very much”.

After a few minutes to ponder the order and ogle out the window Irish landscape rolling by… a second message………

09.31 hrs:

haha, maybe don’t bother with the eggs and the beef. Make up with more ribs!”

and then a third message…

09.45 hrs:

” 无锡酱排骨 卤鸡蛋 .真空包装的熏鱼干. You may show the shop assistant the above names”

Who is the more desperate? And we hadn’t even begun to compare the heat of a Hangzhou summer to the cold of an Irish “summer”!

And the mention of heat has me thinking WJ will be sending me another message….. Surely no self-respecting Chinese spice addict can survive in Ireland for long periods at a time without a fresh supply of 辣椒 pronounced “la jiao” (red peppers)? 

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