Sunday, March 01, 2009

Much ado about SPAM

Pork luncheon meat. Squashed meat in a can, a staple of every Chinese home.

Sliced into strips, dipped in egg batter and pan fried to perfection. Delish in a tin. Best thing out of China since Confucianism and gun powder. My dad cubes it and cooks it with star anise and chilli power.

Salty, tangy and mysterious, its meat like you have never tasted before. Would you know what it is, if not for the word Pork emblazoned on the label?

However with the growing concern on almost anything shipped out of the Mainland these days, and the obvious drop in quality - it has lost its characteristic firmness and bite only to be replaced with suspicious mushiness, the once loved Ma Ling luncheon meat has lost many a local lover.

On the rebound, I have taken to the next and super expensive best thing – Spam. The non-halal section of the supermarkets here are stacked with Spam with cheese, less salt Spam and my favourite – Spam with Tabasco. But it’s like RM14 a can. Yup, in my mom’s words – it’s like eating gold.

But sometimes its easy to go crazy. Which was what exactly what happened when I was in Isetan on Saturday. Desperately needing some comfort food, I grabbed a can of spam and paid for it with some of my other purchases. I was a bit shocked at the bill. Apparently I was charged RM19.99 for a can!

Needless to say, the cheapskate in me went back to the pork counter and looked for the price on display. There was none. The Chinese lady manning the counter gave me the look.
You know that look that salespeople at posh stores give you when you walk in their temple of expensive merchandise in your flip flops and weekend clothes?

Yeah, she cast me THAT look. Complete with the single raised eyebrow.

She saw my can of Spam and hollered “Is 20 dollas wan tin.”
To which I retorted that it’s expensive! Has it gone up in price?
“Is from USA. You know, USA?” And she looked away to a non-existent customer to my right.

I was like, wtf? Was this sales staff is giving ME attitude? Over a can of Spam? Like she owns the England and Spain and all the butcheries in between. Do I look like I can't afford her Spam, yes, from the USA.

I was sorely tempted to return the can (through the air, over the counter and into her skull) just to spite her, but that would mean that I would have to look at her sour face some more.

So I took the high ground and left before I really launched the can at her. Muttered something about yeah, I HAVE bought it before.

Of course I made up the most brilliant come back lines on the journey home, before I fell asleep in the train.

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