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What’s the ultimate food for an indecisive age? Say hello to the Chindian takeaway

The Guardian logo The Guardian 10/7/2018
Curried chicken with egg fried rice. © Alamy Stock Photo Curried chicken with egg fried rice.

Name: Chindian.

Age: Everything old is new again.

Appearance: Chimeric.

Chimeric in the sense of mystical, imaginative and/or visionary, or in the sense of two habitually distinct entities combined in a single, novel form? The latter.

How so? In their ceaseless quest for constant stimulation of mind and body, in order to keep at bay the sense of the ultimate futility of life and the sense of themselves as a set of randomly buffeted points in an uncaring universe, and also to solve the problem of Kevin who never knows what he fancies after the pub, Londoners have come up with – fusion takeaway!

What in the what? Fusion takeaway. Takeaway that is more than one kind of food.

Isn’t that ... two takeaways? No. It is things such as curry-seasoned egg fried rice – two influences, one container. You see?

Is that really innovative? Haven’t people been combining Chinese and Indian cuisines for years? Especially along, you know, the Chinese-Indian border? Yes, but now it’s in London, so it’s real. And, you can eat it at home. Because takeaway.

I see. Well, I suppose we should welcome any crumb, be it katsu, panko or naan, of unity in these fragmentary, divisive, godforsaken times. Two of those are Japanese, but that’s basically the spirit. There’s other stuff too – you can get chicken curry burgers. Or southern fried duck, which is a cross between duck pancakes and heavily seasoned southern fried chicken.

My salivary glands are not, in all honesty, madly juicing at either of these prospects. What about macaroni cheese rolled into balls and given a katsu coating?

Nah. OK. How about fish and chips?

Ooh, yes, that hits the spot. Sorry to be so unprogressive, but sometimes you just want to stick with one kind of cuisine, you know? Of course. Although that is technically a mixture of Jewish, French and Belgian culinary traditions.

Say what? Chips came in the 17th century from Belgium or France, depending whose account of inventing deep-fried slices of potato you prefer. And fried fish was introduced to Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain in the 19th century. The first person to sell them together – and let us be thankful whoever it was – was either John Lees in Mossley Market, Greater Manchester, or Jewish immigrant Joseph Malin in London’s East End, sometime in the early 1860s.

Well, I never! What wondrous things may come from this latest festival of recombinant activity! I can’t wait! Me neither! Two chippy teas and extra scraps all round!

Do say: “Spicy beef a l’orange with noodles inside a sourdough tortilla topped with poutine please. And some garlic bread.”

Don’t say: “Can’t we just have pizza?”

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