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Connecting sweet and sour cultures

Written by Daniel Otero

Westernized sweet and sour


By: Daniel Otero



Like ‘sweet molasses in June’, from the Cajun traditions throughout Louisiana and going way down south into Texas, the good old U.S. of A.  Sloppy Joe’s remained supreme, with the pork and beans or the barbecues which made these States part of the Americana-culinary lifestyle.


America, with its short history does have its sweet-n-sour elements given in part thanks to five cultures; which made this area of the United States deliciously special.  It began with the Native Americans, after came the Spanish Conquistadors, Mexicans, African-Americans and European immigrants.  All the latter decorated what is today our North American-food traditions.


Not only the sweet and sour which rolled off the tongue; but the versions of apple vinaigrette and honey mustard that are placed today into salads, sandwiches and meats.  Yeah baby!  Sweet, marinated and cooked!  That means, tasty good times!


Pork as well as beef became the staple and diet of the South-Southwestern States.


Literally placing honey into everything.  Giving the gusto between: the salts, sweets and of course, nobody can live without the sours.  From the old-fashioned cornbread and later, the tasty-honey biscuits; which made the South what it is today, one of the best cultures for cuisine. Approximately 500 years and counting…


If we compare societies, well, certainly places like China surpass the experimenting process with these palate treasures by thousands of years.  After all, it had to be tasted and passed through an Emperor’s lips, to later become the imperial dish of the land!




But it was the city of Shanghai that brought East meets West, thanks to the Haipai Culture.  Yeah baby, this foodie is certainly getting excited!


It didn’t stop, it only got better by the end of the 19th well into the 20th Century.


Fun stuff to walk around present-day Huangpu District, Shanghai and see the restaurants with the Chinese and Foreign flare.  Those elements that are unique: roasted and braised sticky pork, soul food, to lovely Spanish empanadas, barbecues coming across China and the rest of the world.


Now, if you can’t feel and taste these gorgeous delicacies in your mind, man, those to make your mouth water–there’s something wrong with you babe!  Therefore, ladies and gents, enough of the descriptions.  Let’s go ahead and eat, I’m hungry!

About the author

Daniel Otero

A New Yorker who has been living in China for the past 10 years. He's a freelance writer/journalist and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.

A former member of the military with extensive travel to 50 countries and has lived in six.

Lover of life, good food, travel, writing and dealing with social issues.