Seeking comfort food in China

I find that I can eat healthy in China. I can pile a breakfast plate full of steamed and sauteed vegetables, select a couple of dumplings, and add a few pieces of tofu for extra bite. When I feel like eating some more protein, there is often some yogurt at hand. The food is not deep fried or full of rice like a lot of Indian breakfast. Nor is it full of sugars and starch and highly processed like most western breakfast. I like this breakfast, but it is not comfort food.

After all I am hardly likely to get khichdi in China. But usually I can find a bowl of rice topped with sauteed vegetables and fried meat. This extremely common Chinese combination (I don’t know whether it has a name) is close enough to my childhood comfort food to keep me happy. This time around, after a day spent walking across the Purple Mountains of Nanjing, I was unable to find a simple bowl of rice. After some search I found instead a plate of roasted pork knuckles and sauteed vegetables. Accompanied by a large bottle of cold Tsingtao beer this came close to a second style of comfort food. On cold evenings in Germany I’d learnt to seek out comfortable kneipers’ which could serve a large schweinshaxe with potato and gave you a half liter of beer to go with it. The effect of this Chinese combination was strangely similar. The bowls of soya sauce and a spicy powder also made it reasonably close in taste to modern Indian food.