I’m such a philistine

Saturday 10 December 2011, 4.59am HKT

I do this all the time. And enjoy the gasped looks on others.


IKEA sour-cream crisps and Spanish vino tinto in Georgian-style wineglass


Even more philistine, I sometimes make a meal of this.

I grew up with wine all my life. We (family) always had wine at mealtime. I had my first taste of wine certainly around the age of six.

(To my mind, the age of 18 in civilised countries, or 21 in less-civilised countries, for drinking alcohol is just spastically brain-damaged: it just psychs up people to be alcoholics, thereby advancing sales of alcohol, which creates jobs. Hmm, maybe that’s not a bad thing after all…)

I grew up with crisps (or ‘chips’ to our American cousins) like everybody else in the UK. I ate my first crisps certainly well before six.

I know my crisps. Best ones are thick-sliced, straight-cut and not crinkle-cut, seasoned with honey, mustard and salt. Sour cream is okay too.

(To my mind, the legal age for eating crisps/chips should be set at 25 for males and 35 for females. It stops them from becoming obese. Look at me, I’m thin as a rail. Fat people uses too much cloth for clothes. Clothmaking is not altogether environmentally friendly.)

Salt and vinegar? Always British. HP sauce? Brit, all the way. Barbecue? American, hands down. Bacon flavoured? Always, always American. Cajun? American, unless you’re brain-damaged.

My beloved Italians, most of whom treat me like a godson, are (sadly) dead losses on the crisps front. They just don’t understand the paganistic concept of ‘crisps.’

Sorry, but honestly speaking, the Chinese, Malaysians, Indonesians and Filipinos make the worse crisps. Ever. Theirs are too oily and unctuous.

And Japanese crisps? Well, they’re just ‘weird’ and deranged (like everything else in The Land That Gave Us Weird Since 1957). Too dry and crumbly.

The Taiwanese? They don’t make crisps — but they make the best Japanese-style seaweed rice crackers, evah! Snap, crackle and pop!


Japanese-style rice crackers from Taiwan made from japonica rice


I know my wine too, truly I do — little bit more than ‘enough’ to handle a technical conversation with a sommelier (a ‘butler’ in a restaurant or club in charge of wines).

I’m not into that California’esque ‘gentrified’ browbeating snobbish crap about wines that’s been making the rounds worldwide since the 1970s — you know, red wine goes with this, white wine goes with that, and never the twain shall meet — which is 100% pure horse poop.

How can you be snobbish when it comes to a bottle of cheapo Spanish plonk-plonk?

It’s only a bottle of vino de mesa (‘table wine’), priced HK$16 (US$2 or £1.31).

Otherwise priced around 99p (or US$1.48) in any supermarket in the USA or UK if not for the high inflation rate in Hong Kong.

It’s cheap in price, but superb in quality. Viva España!

I like my wine with crisps.

And I have wine and crisps and cheese and buchettes in the office as well. Sometimes. Wine not too often, of course.

And I’m crazy enough to let employees do the same in the office (the alcoholic bit, that is). Sometimes. Not too often, of course.


Mini Ruffini buchettes (salami), 3 in. (8cm) long — peerless!
150 grammes (5¼ oz) for HK$53.50 (US$6.87 or £4.39)


Danish blue cheese (similar to Stilton, but travels better),
182 grammes (6½ oz), HK$43 (US$5.50 or £3.53)


Treat others like grown-ups, and they will be grown-ups. That’s what we are, grown-ups.

It’s nearly Christmas, for pete’s sakes, why not a little vino at work?

The clients themselves are too sloshed to notice anyway, right?

(You’re fired for turning the office into a winebar. — Editor. *Hic*)

(P.S. You’re fired for not getting more buchettes. — Editor. *Om nom nom*)

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011. Images by the author.

4 Responses to “I’m such a philistine”

  1. I knew that you were a truly cosmopolitan cultured fellow. Wine is the staff of life, bread is just for sopping up its sauce.
    If you have a lazy $500-600 to spend buy a bottle of Penfolds Grange Hermitage- heaven in a glass. The ’86 was the best drop that has ever passed my lips.
    Here in Oz they are chips too- very Amurrikan!
    Thanks for the heads up about Taiwanese seaweed crackers- I will be looking for them at the next supermarket pit stop for sure.
    I love a thin slice of Grana Padano, some Spanish Quince paste and a drop of Chianti from time to time as well.
    We must do lunch one day Rob!


  2. Ed Hurst said

    In my numerous volksmarches across Western Europe, I would often forage among the local snack vendors. To this day, I’ll never forget stopping at a friture wagon in Belgium (fried potatoes rule the Lowlands) where they offered a wide array of sauces for topping. What caught my eye was the label “Americaine” — so I ordered it. Cajun it was, of course. That’s the Waloon’s concept of American.


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