lostnchina

…because not all of us have our Peking ducks in a row

Walkers Scottish Oatcakes and the Scottish Invasion of China

Because I’m absolutely lacking in creativity these days, I’m re-posting this piece from September 2011.

They taste as boring as they look.

We don’t hear a lot about Scotland in China, Hong Kong or Taiwan.  I’m sure most people think the same I do when anyone mentions Scotland – tartan, bagpipes, kilts, woolen apparel.

But the other day, while visiting my parents in Taipei, I went to a Costco with them and forced them to purchase a three-pack of Walkers Scottish Traditional Oatcakes, which are supposed to be healthy and free of fats and additives and, therefore, good for you.  However, now I’m convinced that Walkers’ Traditional Oatcakes is Scotland’s secret weapon against the Greater China region and world domination.

Walkers are the same people who make those delicious, buttery shortbread and other cakes and cookies.  Just looking at the label makes me gain 2lbs, inhaling its aroma another 5lbs and taking a bite, 10lbs.

It’s as if – to offset the incredible artery-clogging and fattening properties of their usual offerings – the Walkers people tried to ease their guilty consciences by creating something that’s completely healthy and absolutely devoid of taste.  Imagine, if you will, sucking on a two-by-four, because the American Heart Association deemed it good for you – and you now have an idea of what the Walkers oatcakes taste like.

The fact that the oatcakes are made from a “traditional” Scottish recipe makes me even more convinced it’s a pointed imperialist attack on the Chinese people.  In fact, I looked at the US Costco website and failed to find any Walkers products.  This tells me that Americans don’t buy that Scottish crap about these oatcakes being good for you, while the Chinese, eager for Western products – will buy the product in droves, regardless of how it tastes.

For the purpose of writing this post, I had eaten another Walkers oatcake and the next thing I knew, my Dad was asking me why there were three boxes of oatcakes in the garbage can, two of them unopened.

I think this is how the Scottish invasion of the China region would take place: after making sure that our senses are thoroughly numbed by the oatcakes we’ve purchased at Costco in bulk, men in tartan will start bombarding us with more oatcakes by lobbing them out of cannons from warships and by dropping them from planes by the sack fulls.  Scotland would never run out of ammunition, because the oatcakes are made from recycled cardboard, sawdust, and unsold oatcakes.  And this would be a very eco-friendly invasion, as any debris will just wash away with the rain and be absorbed seamlessly into our environment, or be eaten up by small scavenger animals who need a lot of roughage.

I was convinced that Scottish oatcakes was some colossal joke – or a food item that’s unpopular in its native country, and the Scottish government is trying to unload them on unsuspecting Chinese people.  So I went online and Googled, “Are oatcakes a Scottish tradition”, and to my dismay they ARE!  In fact, the web is filled with people and their happy traditional oatcake recipes.

I’m sure this post is going to generate a lot of Scottish animosity towards me, and this is totally understandable.  However, we Chinese have standard, culturally-identifiable dishes, such as thousand-year-old preserved eggs and chicken claws.

We Chinese are also patriotic with a strong sense of identity, but we know most other people might not like to stare at a plateful of steaming hot chicken claws at the dinner table, or peel off the shell of an egg that’s totally black in color with an oozing, greyish-black liquid center where the yolk should be.

So, you Scots keep your oatcakes, please – and we’ll keep our preserved eggs and chicken claws under lock and key … for now….

Sunny side…up?

Related Posts:

Lost in Translation: Why I’m Not an Interpreter

 

 

24 comments on “Walkers Scottish Oatcakes and the Scottish Invasion of China

  1. jim
    January 6, 2013

    Oh my god do the people who partake in snake bile, the living brain of monkeys clamped in a frame screaming in agony and tiger penis really qualify as food as food critics

    Like

    • lostnchina
      January 7, 2013

      With the advanced palates and improved virility that the tiger penises, monkey brains and snake bile have provided us, we are able to discern the 50 gut-wrenching shades of any dish.

      Like

  2. Val
    August 9, 2012

    They’re usually eaten with butter or jam (jello) or something otherwise gooey on the top, to help them go down. (I’m not Scottish, by the way). They’re also good for constipation as they go down like a lead weight and… probably come out the same way! 😉

    tmi?

    Like

    • lostnchina
      August 10, 2012

      Well, Val, I’m thinking, if we put butter or jam on stuff, we could make a lot of things go down – inner tubing, radiator caps, tripe. Doesn’t necessarily mean I’d want to eat any of them 🙂

      Like

      • Val
        August 10, 2012

        I dunno, radiator caps might be quite nutritious with some jam! 😉

        Like

  3. Chopstik
    July 12, 2012

    Haven’t been subjected to oatcakes just yet but would agree with cristycarringtonl – anything with the word “cakes” in it has typically been far more bland than the name would otherwise imply. I have, however, been subjected to thousand year old eggs and have to move to another room whenever one is cracked open. I just can’t bring myself to partake in the “delicacy” (that’s sarcasm for those who may have missed it). I think I’d prefer the cardboard, er, oatcakes…

    Like

    • lostnchina
      July 12, 2012

      Really? I like the Thousand Year Old Eggs, actually. But I won’t go for the smelly fried tofu. But you’re right – sometimes I’m not sure whether it’s’ better having totally bland food or something that’s just bizarre and gross.

      Like

  4. giora
    July 12, 2012

    I don’t eat many cookies, but have to check if they sell these Scottish Oatcakes in Toronto. They do look boring, as you said. We also don’t hear here much about Scotalnd, except of the author of Harry Potter and the Loch Ness monster.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      July 12, 2012

      Make no mistake – Scottish oatcakes are NOT cookies – they are more in the “Office Supplies” category.

      Like

  5. expatlingo
    July 10, 2012

    I think the traditional way of eating Walkers oatcakes involves smearing them with so much salted, creamy butter that you can’t actually taste the oatcake.

    Like

    • lostnchina
      July 11, 2012

      You’re absolutely right. And using that logic, a piece of cardboard would taste just as yummy.

      How’s your summer vacation going?

      Like

      • expatlingo
        July 11, 2012

        Wonderful! I’ve already eaten an obscene amount of Tex Mex, cheese and BBQ.

        Like

  6. cristycarringtonlewis
    July 10, 2012

    FYI…tomorrow you are being nominated for a shitload of blogging awards by moi! Check out my blog, http://www.paltrymeanderings.com, anytime after 6:30 a.m. E.S.T. tomorrow for all the details.Congrats!

    Like

    • lostnchina
      July 10, 2012

      Ooooo…thanks! I like a shitload of anything! (Except for shit…and oatcakes.)

      Like

      • lostnchina
        July 10, 2012

        I’ve also updated my AWARDS page to include you for 7×7 Link Award…NOT because you’re nominating MOI, but because you’re a GREAT WRITER!

        Like

        • cristycarringtonlewis
          July 12, 2012

          I just saw this. Thank you, my dear. You already know I think you’re a great writer. But back to the Scottish oatcakes. Though I hail from Scottish origins, I don’t understand their food, in general. I’ve come to the conclusion that any time someone names a cake with the grain with which it is made, it’s going to taste like cardboard. Oatcakes. Check. Rice cakes. Check. Bran cakes. Not sure if they exist, but still, check. Bulgar cakes. Again, a made up cake? Possibly, but sure it tastes like old, wet newspaper.

          Then again, you did acknowledge that the Chinese have some, erm, interesting taste in food as well. I’ve been dipping my toe into Asian cuisine by visiting the local Asian grocery just down the street from our new condo every week. Duck eggs were delish, but off the menu now that I’ve become vegan. Still, I wish you’d come to Florida and escort me through the store and explain some of the products that puzzle and perplex me. The Chinese diet is so healthy and works well if you’re trying to eat vegan, but I’m very aware of the fact that I’m making the most obvious Caucasian purchases in the store. With the exception of the vegetables, everything I end up buying says Kikkoman on it.

          As a Chinese-Canadian, how are you enjoying the cuisine in China? Is it drastically different from what you grew up eating?

          Like

          • lostnchina
            July 12, 2012

            Cristy, darling – I’m sorry, but you lost me at *vegan*. But if you’re vegan, having Chinese food is a good way to go. We do many sexy things with soy – they’re a fine source of protein. (Besides the Kikkoman SOY sauce.) We can make sushi-looking things with soy, even seafood, like abalone. What are the most obvious Caucasian purchases in a Chinese store? Ramen noodles?

            The food in China makes one want to run into the outstretched grainy arms of an oatcake. That’s how bad it is. Starbucks is now my best friend and even McDonalds is my sometimes whore. Very sad. Please send Ramen noodles…

            Like

            • cristycarringtonlewis
              July 12, 2012

              This isn’t very encouraging. Do you have a ramen noodle flavor preference? What if I just send some Kraft Macaroni & Cheese?

              Like

      • cristycarringtonlewis
        July 10, 2012

        Well, you won’t be getting either of those. Does anyone eat oatcakes? Are they like ricecakes?

        Like

        • lostnchina
          July 11, 2012

          Let me try to rescue some from the garbage can and mail them to you, and you can tell me. (PS: They don’t taste ANY different pre-/post-garbage.)

          Like

  7. becomingcliche
    July 10, 2012

    My grandfather used to buy scrambled pigs brains in gravy. I’ll take a Scottish oat cake, please!

    Like

    • lostnchina
      July 10, 2012

      Where do you buy such things as scrambled pigs brains? Wait, let me look it up on the Walkers’ website.

      Like

  8. WSW
    July 10, 2012

    I don’t know, Susan. Bland, yet harmless grains or toenails and rancid embryos? Seems like a no brainer of a choice to me. Unless of course the eggs are served with Cheez Doodles….

    Like

    • lostnchina
      July 10, 2012

      We Chinese fight dirty: the Scots give us oatcakes in kilts, we give them fermented duck eggs in silk robes.

      Like

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This entry was posted on July 10, 2012 by in China, Humor and tagged , , , , , , .
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