Of Mao, Spice, and Komrad

Mao Zedong was once quoted in saying:

In order to speed up this restoration and development [of agricultural production and industrial production in small towns], we must do our utmost, in the course of our struggle for the abolition of the feudal system, to preserve all useful means of production and of livelihood, take resolute measures against anyone’s destroying or wasting them, oppose extravagant eating and drinking and pay attention to thrift and economy.

To “oppose extravagant eating and drinking,” however, is not exactly a hallmark of the typical Chinese restaurant, where extravagance is the norm.  I think that much of what comes to mind when one says “Chinese food” – be it President in Binondo or Chowking – we owe to the oppressive dynasties deposed by Chinese revolutionaries.  After all, things like the banquet and lauriat were built on the backs – and the farms – of the proletariat.  And of course, there’s Mao Zedong the gourmand: his penchant for spicy dishes, particularly red-cooked pork, for example, was as strategic as it is tactical to vanquish… well, capitalist pigs.  But that – the historical notes or remarks devoid of any historical origin whatsoever, are digressions.

Enter Komrad: a Chinese restaurant somewhere in Tomas Morato, where the leitmotif (ding ding ding) is, well, Mao Zedong.

Continue reading