I am a firm believer that everyone has a "comfort food." However, what does that term "comfort food" mean? "Comfort food" is not just your favorite dish! "Comfort food" is the dish you order when you are sad or you feel the need for a little extra comfort. I will give you an example: in the United States, a very common "comfort food" is macaroni and cheese. This is also my own "comfort food!"
That said, on Kinmen, we do not really have the opportunity to eat lots of macaroni and cheese, so I, as well as the other Fulbright teachers, have had to discover new "comfort foods." This article focuses on my friend Cody and my discovery of our own Kinmenese "comfort foods."
I have always known that I love to eat beef noodles, but when I came to Kinmen, beef noodles became even more special to me. For one, although I know that beef noodles are Taiwanese, there is an aspect of familiarity to them. My Chinese level is fairly decent, but sometimes I do not feel like ordering complicated or unfamiliar dishes in a restaurant. At these times, I always return to the simpler, homey beef noodle. Second,although this supposedly "simple" dish only has a few ingredients, it has many different types and all of those types are delicious! Beef noodles are truly a year-round food. In the summer heat, I do not want to drink soup, so I tend to order ganmian. Now that the weather is beginning to get colder, I am ordering more and more beef noodles with soup.
Of course, the most important thing for me is how beef noodles make me feel. No matter which restaurant I choose, I always know that from ordering to eating the noodles, I will have a relaxing, good experience. Whenever I have had a long day at work, I know that I will meet success when ordering a bowl of beef noodle soup. Furthermore, one of the most satisfactory things in life is a stomach full of warm, delicious noodles.
For Fulbright teachers and other foreigners on Kinmen, finding a "comfort food" is of utmost importance because this food allows us to better connect to Kinmen's local culture. It also allows us to find welcome and warm feelings in this new and sometimes foreign place. Every person has a different choice of "comfort food," and my own "comfort food" is very different than that of my friends.
Author/Translator: Cody Bijeaux
I am an American who has come here to teach English. Spending two years in Asia with long stays in both mainland China and Taiwan, many would say that my choice of "comfort food" differs from other foreigners. I happily agree. Never a day goes by when I do not try to find a delicious restaurant or hot pot. These types of food comfort me. These "comfort foods" help me remember my time in Asia while in college - a period that I still fondly remember.
The first time I arrived in Kinmen, I was surprised. I have been to Asia many times, but never before have I been to such a quiet and peaceful place. When I walk the streets of Kinmen, I always see many restaurants around me, and find more and more restaurants that I have never tried.
Do not get me wrong, I really enjoy Western cuisine. However, to find comfort I prefer to sit down with a bowl of beef fried rice. Why? On my first day in Taiwan when I was in college, I went out and found a small restaurant to enjoy my first meal. Their cuisine was especially delicious, particularly their beef fried rice. That memory of eating in that small restaurant is etched in my heart.
I brought this memory with me to Kinmen, where I spent a great deal of time looking for restaurants that matched my tastes. Fortunately, Jincheng is not short of delicious cuisine. Whenever I feel uneasy or stressed, I go out and eat my favorite beef fried rice to find solace. I do not think I could ever forget all the help and comfort these small meals have given me.
This is my first time facing life by myself. I am working hard to learn how to stand on my own two legs. There is still a lot I do not understand and making mistakes is a common occurrence for me. However, whenever I find life's troubles to be unbearable, I am glad that I can escape to my favorite beef fried rice restaurant to find ease and comfort. I hope that I can put more Kinmen cuisine in my heart.