|山東大麵 (Large Shandong noodles) are|
perfect with stew.
I think anyone living abroad for a long period of time begins to miss the comforts of home, whether it be shopping at certain stores, sleeping in your old bed, or eating certain foods. For me, food is the only thing I really miss about home, aside from my family and friends of course. Don't get me wrong; I love the food in Taiwan, and I eat pretty much everything and anything (stinky tofu, pig's blood, etc.) It's not American food I miss as I don't typically eat fast food. It's Nigerian food I crave. Rice and stew, dodo (fried plantain), egusi soup (soup made with melon seeds)...the list goes on!
Luckily, I had the luxury of having my dad visit me last month. Naturally, I was happy to see him, but I was also ecstatic about mom's cooking him, frozen and wrapped tightly so it would be safe during the 24+ hour journey. Of particular note was the peppery, Nigerian tomato stew. Why? Because it goes amazingly well with noodles!
Last year, the first time he visited me, my dad brought me stew. Since I'm sometimes too lazy to cook rice myself, I decided to put the stew on noodles as they're faster to make. Since then, I've loved the combination!
|The Shandong noodles ready to go.|
I think it's clearly the oiliness of stew that makes it pair well with noodles. Also, what makes stew awesome is it's longevity. I can keep it for months as long as it's in the freezer. Plus, I think "old" stew tastes better since the flavors have sunk in. It's my go-to dinner when I'm not sure what to eat because I don't have to add anything. However, I find that adding 白菜 (baicai or bok choy) gives it a nice crunch. A boiled egg is also a great topping.
When I still had some, I would add also my mom's blasian-style turkey which was frozen and brought over. Last year, my dad and I were taken to Yilan, a city in northeastern Taiwan, by a friend. There, my dad bought some 豆腐乳 (doufuru or fermented tofu sauce). My mom used it, curry powder, and a few other tasty spices to marinate the turkey.
|The noodles before mixing...|
|...and after mixing!|
Seriously, the noodles have a killer taste, too bad licking the screen will do no good! In my opinion, they have a similar flavor to some Chinese noodle dishes:
|Sichuan-style zhajiangmian which are,|
of course, spicier than the usual.
|炸醬麵 (zhajiangmian or fried sauce noodles)|
This bowl is from one of my favorite places
in my neighborhood.
|辣味咖哩麵 (lawei kalimian or spicy curry noodles)|
The curry sauce looks so much like Nigerian stew!
I think the similarities between the stew noodles and the above dishes (especially zhajiangmian because, like Nigerian stew, the base is fried) further proves the general connection between Asian and African cultures. I don't think the similarities between the tastes are a coincidence. I think highlighting the similarities between my culture and Chinese culture has proven to be a great conversation starter here. Breaking bread together has always been a way to connect for thousands of years, hasn't it? It certainly has been for me; people here love my mom's food!
|My mom's stew and turkey, ready to be attacked!|
My dad thinks a Nigerian restaurant would be a success in Taiwan; I think he's right!