A host of Western delicacies are being imported to Asia, exciting palates and destroying kitchens.
Perhaps the most remarkable of these is the apple puff, an innocent- looking pastry that just appeared in my supermarket's frozen section.
Actually, the air-conditioning is so high the entire supermarket is now the frozen section.
I'm convinced this is a trick to make us buy more - since I risk hypothermia unless I sprint along the aisles with a massively overloaded shopping trolley.
Shortly before writing this, I arrived breathless at the cashier to discover I had snatched up a pack of 12 mini apple puffs from Australia.
The instructions said to microwave it for five minutes.
I slipped a couple into the machine, and while waiting I recalled the previous Western delicacy I had tried: a Scottish dish called porridge.
The instructions for that were to place the rolled oats in hot water and heat for three to five minutes on the stove. I did that. Five minutes later, I ended up with a pile of rolled oats at the bottom of a pan of hot water.
I phoned a European friend. "What is porridge supposed to look like?" I said. "Like a human brain on a dish," she said. "That sounds yummy," I lied.
Since she lives nearby, she came over to investigate. She told me my oats were still raw and that instructions on packets are normally wildly inaccurate.
She halved the water and quadrupled the cooking time and soon produced what looked remarkably like congealed mucus.
But it didn't taste as bad as it looked. It tasted much, much worse.
"Are you sure one is supposed to eat this?" I asked. "It's not a type of glue?"
This memory was interrupted by the realization that the newly purchased apple puffs were turning into an interesting experiment.
After one minute they started throbbing. At two minutes they collapsed. At three minutes they turned brown. At four minutes they turned black. At 4 minutes they burst into flames.
I phoned my Western friend. "What do apple puffs look like when they're cooked?" I said. "The same as when they are raw, only golden and crispy," she said.
I asked: "And what about the flames?" She replied: "What flames?"
Now I realize that if I lived in America, I could sue the vendor of these items for almost burning down my kitchen. If this was America, I could sue the store for extreme humiliation. Indeed, if this was America, I could sue Scotland itself for inventing scary foodstuff.
But this is Asia, where the silly lawsuit, a sign of a sophisticated modern society, does not yet exist.
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