My messy brain work

It’s food that makes me home 民以食为天

I suppose we do need to have some perspectives in life.

The first time I arrived in Brussels, I came from Rome. Brussels was its usual rainy and grey self. I thought, oh God, this is miserable. I was staying with friends, they made me feel as home as possible. We went sightseeing, went to taste the chocolate, went to see Tintin and went to have the mussels. Still, Brussels is no Roma.

It was really until I discovered the little China Town in the middle of Brussels — given how small the city is compare to cities like Paris, London or Beijing, it’s really not that easy to miss it — that I felt, ok, at least there’s somewhere to seek refuge when I’m truly desperate.

And then, this day came pretty soon.

I stayed in Luxembourg for about 10 days with a friend. I was getting pretty desperate. Luxembourg is…… small! (I still want to make friends in Luxembourg)

Luckily, we returned to Brussels! And this time, I wowed to see Brussels! It’s modern, cosmopolitan, international and fun! The part of the city I didn’t get to appreciate the previous time I was here.

And most importantly, I so discovered, is the sense of feeling safe when I know there are places to go to for home food. Not just the Chinese restaurants — in fact, one Chinese restaurant we went to in Luxembourg was really good, the food was very authentically southern, I tasted immediately the familiarity as from my home province — but more of a conspicuous recognition of a Chinese community here, a geographic concentration, where you know you can find your usual instant noodles, frozen dumplings, and favourite soy sauce without too much of trouble or too much of costs, something quite different even in London, where everything at least doubles the price in the Chinese supermarkets.

For a highly globalised world today, whether we judge globalisation good or bad, the reality is, we do indeed live in a big global village. Just look at how many Chinese restaurants there are all around the world. Even in Luxembourg, each village seems to have at least one Chinese restaurant, most unexpectedly.

So I’m now quite in love with Brussels, particularly when a day like today, blue sky, bright sunshine and life is brilliant.

Plus, Brussels is the birth place of one of my favourite cafes in the world – Le Pain Quotidien or My Daily Bread. I went to their branch in London back to 2007 and loved their way of serving coffee in bowls. I shall write a separate piece for this story next time.

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A hearty lunch at Le Pain Quotidien in the heart of Brussels


这个事情吧,咱们还是得辩证的来看。

第一次来布鲁塞尔的时候,我从罗马飞过来。大冬天,布鲁塞尔阴沉沉的又下着雨,真是糟糕啊!当时住在朋友家,朋友们还带着我各种逛名胜古迹啊,尝巧克力啊,参观丁丁书店啊,吃青口啊,也算是尽力了。可是呢,布鲁塞尔,就不是罗马啦!

直到我发现了中国城。布鲁塞尔蛮小的,中国城在算挺市中心的地方了。当时我就想,OK,至少还有个可以来解解乡愁和口水的地方。

然后呢,我就去卢森堡住了差不多10天。额滴神!!!各位同学,就不要花时间精力专程来卢森堡了,别说姐姐没有戒告你们。卢森堡真心是。。。大农村!!每天都过得还蛮糟糕的。

终于,我们又回到了布鲁塞尔!这一次,我突然感受到了布鲁塞尔毕竟还是一个国际大都市的这一个点,尤其跟卢森堡乡比较起来,布鲁塞尔简直洋气死了!

最为重要的一点,还是因为布鲁塞尔的这个小中国城。还真不单单只是说中国餐厅那么简单。事实上,卢森堡有好多中餐厅。朋友还带我去了一家,味道挺不错的,老板是温州人,我吃了一口菜就感觉是我们浙江人的口味。布鲁塞尔的这个中国城,因为有了地理上这样一个位置,让远在异乡的中国人仿佛是有了一个定心丸。因为我们会知道,无论如何,在这里,我们可以买到各类中国食材。方便面,旺旺仙贝,李锦记,甚至是各种冷冻包子水饺春卷,一应俱全,价格也公道。

我们谈很多关于全球化的话题。在西方,很多人质疑全球化,很多人反对全球化。每年的G20(当然在我朝的除外)就是反全球化人士聚集的“盛会”。2016年尤为跌宕起伏的全球政治格局,更让很多人对全球化这个话题又产生了兴趣。在欧洲,地缘主义的嚣张跟欧洲本土各类的政治经济人文方面的问题是分不开的。

然而,全球化作为社会发展的一个趋势,是不可逆的,它也有它自己的发展的有机轨迹,我们可以评价它的好处和坏处,我们可以争论它带来的利和弊,但我们很难人为的将它砍断。我们无法否认,如今的世界就是一个越来越融汇在一起的地球村——虽然这措辞感觉特别老气。别的不说,看看这满世界遍地的中国餐厅,就连卢森堡,也恨不得每个村子都至少有一家中国餐厅。食物带来文化的传递,这一点,在中华民族的传统和文化上,又显得尤为的明显和重要。

总之呢,我现在好爱布鲁塞尔哦!尤其今天又是个好天儿,蓝天白云,太阳烤的暖暖的,又有可以不假思索就大口呼吸的新鲜无雾霾空气,夫复何求。

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