■ 22:07 (UTC±00:00), 12 MARCH 2016 | GBR HARROW, GREATER LONDON
I’m not in any way saying the food in Beijing is “garbage”. It’s not: don’t let the much-sensationalised media fool you that we’re eating, well, “poison”, day in, day out. Yes, you do have to take care of those dodgy restaurants at times: yes, I would be sort of careful of that suspect KFC outside Gaobeidian Railway Station (say where? what?). But food made in China can’t in any way “kill” you. And if you opt to pay more, you get better food.
But there’s one thing I’m not all too happy with the food I have in the Jing: salad isn’t part of the menu in many a restaurant. (You pay the equivalent of £7.— or so for that in Beijing — cheap by London standards, quite a pocketbook-thumper by the standards of the Jing!) Obviously, in China, things are massively different: vegetables, especially cooked / stir-fried / ____ed ones, take their place most of the time. In particular, I don’t get rocket (the veg, not the Cape Canaveral version) as much as I’d like to in Beijing. And the greens and fruits I get at the average supermarket in town are astronomically priced for a Beijing budget.
I don’t really believe blindly in the NHS’s “5 a day”. It can’t be enough, as I see it: you also don’t need massive servings of one particular fruit or veg. I’d like to be more diverse, and double up, but also slightly cut down on the proportions needed. What you’re seeing here is my average lunch in London…
…which is the kind I’d like to see more kids in China feast on: like their counterparts in Los Angeles and London, we’re seeing fatter kids, and that’s something I’m not a great big fanboy of.
The other thing I’m seeing is I easily get more mileage on foot in London than in Beijing. I do have a UK driving licence, but it’s hardly ever used to rent cars; I don’t like giving my Annual Gold Card for Tube & Rail off time too often. This strikes me as odd, as I take the Tube (or Subway) pretty much as often I do in Beijing as I do in London. Plus, Beijing has a larger still network; London’s next addition won’t be until 2018. However, in the end, my device reports I get less miles done on foot in the Jing than inside the M25. (To hell with the smog: if I was gas-mask-less for SARS and still happily jumping about, I really couldn’t care more about smog: just don’t go inhaling massive amounts during Red Alert Days — use some common sense! Plus, AQI is improving more and more as Beijing knows it’s got to stop polluting the skies till Kingdom Come.)
As I’m headed back to Beijing in about 3 months’ time or so, I’d like to bring my London diet along for the ride (even though I’m quite the opposite of an NHS worshipper). The David Feng salad as you see in the pic — what I’d like to see as my “pseudo 9-a-day” — is only reality inside the M25; I’d actually want to see a full-scale salad bar where you can actually individually pick what you want. I’d pay through the nostrils for these to stay lean in the Jing (by my standards, I am already semi-colossal). I’d also hope more and more kids would join me. Lose these “unneeded extras”: they will come back to hurt you if you can’t balance your weight when you’re a bit older! (I learnt it the hard way!) ■ ■ ■