Monday, September 20, 2010
United States - Texas Barbeque in China
Who knew you could get Texas barbeque in China. Less than half a century ago it would have seemed like an oxymoron. It still does, in a way. Then again, Deng Xiaoping did go with Nixon to a Lone Star – not a Red Star – barbeque in the seventies where he saw a hot dog and wondered why Americans would want to eat the anatomical part of a dog. But Texas is so quintessentially American – the cowboy, Texas beef, big oil, big everything. In China, in the sixties and seventies, during the Cultural Revolution, one could get ten years of hard labor for whispering the desire for Texas barbeque. You most certainly would have been labeled a counter-revolutionary.
But that was then, this is now. To get rich is glorious. Consumerism is rampant. You rarely see Mao suits. Women are dressed in short skirts and heels. There are fewer bicycles and more Mercedes sedans. There’s a widening gap between rich and poor. You even see illicit movies for sale. China resembles the United States more everyday.
“Tim’s” was the name of the Texas barbeque restaurant. There were TV’s on the wall so sports fans could watch the game. Okay, so they didn’t have on American football, it was rugby or ice hockey, I think. I don’t pay attention to these things. But the point is, it was a sports bar!
We ate at a picnic style table and drank beer with our meal – Chinese beer – but still. Almost all the patrons were western. You could almost trick yourself in believing you were in the West somewhere, except for the waitresses that didn’t speak English.
After dinner, as if to do something counter-American, we went to a night market where we watched Chinese opera and ate scorpions on a stick. Someday I’ll be ready to go back to the U.S. – but not yet.