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In not more than 140 words, summarize the writer's opinions of Asian food in Europe and in Asia itself.

Food may not be a reason to travel to Asia but for me it is certainly a reason to come back, When I was a young man in England, my only exposure to Asian food was Chinese takeaway at a shop in Sheffield. Fried rice was rice fried with egg and bean sprouts. Sweet and sour pork a great favorite of my adventurous English friends was pork fried in sticky dough swimming in sickeningly sweet syrup. No wonder many of us thought Chinese cuisine was not as wonderful as it was made out to be. The small, rather dirty Pakistani restaurant opposite Leeds University served very mediocre briyani rice. Nothing like the aromatic dish of similar name I was served in Kuala Lumpur. Asian food in Europe is not fairly represented. It was little wonder I did not recognize the fried rice that came when I ordered if at the airport In Singapore. The rice was full of diced carrot, green peas, cauliflower and cubes of chicken!

It is little wonder that most Asians are obsessed with food. Asian food is so delicious. When I first moved to Bangkok, I was amazed that food was the main topic of many conversations. My colleagues at Chulalongkorn University were very insistent that I knew where the best chicken rice, fried noodles and beef soup were sold. Of course, no two people would agree. I discovered through my learned friends that some of the best food in Bangkok is to be found at street stalls, the markets, the noodle shops and the push-carts. I learned not to judge by appearances alone. I discovered that in Thailand and indeed for much of Asia, the more unpretentious the premises, the tastier the food.

Let me give a few examples. My favorite restaurant in Bangkok is Chang Kit. It sells the best rice soup with fresh fish. When the taxi stopped in front of the restaurant, I did not immediately want to enter it, The shop was very old, the tables and chairs were rickety. The waiters were old too and dressed casually in faded T-shirts with holes in them, But one spoon of the soup and all is forgiven, The best wonton noodles I ate was at a roadside stall in Kuala Lumpur. It was in the heart of Chinatown. There were only two tables and clients had to wait to be served. The black chopsticks looked quite filthy. It was a rainy evening, Every time a car passed, my feet were splashed with dirty water. The noodles were tender, the soup flavorful, the vegetables crunchy and the roast meat was to-die-for.

Many Westerners think that the hygiene in Asia's foodstalls is a little suspect. There is probably some truth in this. My experience has shown me that it is safe to eat at most restaurants where the food is cooked on the spot, for example, fried noodles or chicken porridge. Therefore, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai food is relatively safe. It is less safe to eat food which has been cooked earlier and left to sit on the counter for hours. Food goes bad very quickly in the tropics because of the heat. Food cooked with coconut milk tends to get spoilt even faster. Therefore, I try to avoid restaurants serving food already cooked and placed in food warmers. I also avoid raw vegetables and cold drinks. This is because not all food vendors wash their vegetables well or boll their drinking water.

The best thing about Asian food Chinese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and so on is that it is usually very tasty. Another advantage is one can eat in Asia quite cheaply. For instance, for the equivalent of a British pound, one can have a balanced meal of rice, chicken and vegetables in most Asian cities. For that amount, one is lucky to get a sandwich in Europe. The exception to the rule is Japanese food which is often the most expensive food in Asia.

food is a reason to come back to Asia
Asian food in Europe not well represented
Asian restaurants do not serve the best food compared to food served in Asia itself
most Asians obsessed with food
Asian food is so delicious cannot judge food by appearance of shop
hygiene may be suspect so better to eat food cooked on the spot
food goes bad quickly in hot weather
avoid raw food and cold drinks
best thing about Asian food is the reasonable price
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For some travelers, food is a reason to come back to Asia. Asian food in Europe is not well-represented. Besides, the taste of the food is quite different from the actual dishes served in their country of origin. A visit to Asia shows that most Asians are obsessed with food and justly so because Asian food is so delicious, it is impossible to judge the quality of food by looking at the appearance of the shop selling it, The best food is often sold in simple shops, Food hygiene is sometimes suspect in Asian food stalls so it is advisable to eat food that is cooked on the spot. Food goes bad quickly in hot weather. Furthermore, it is better to avoid raw vegetables and cold drinks. Finally, the best thing about Asian food is its reasonable price. (138 words)


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