Thursday, 8 September 2011
Craving for Pork
I've just come back from baking myself on a sun lounger in Egypt. I stayed at an all inclusive Hilton hotel in Sharm El Sheik, where the food was lacking in – errr what is the word I looking for – oh yeah – everything. I appreciate it must be very difficult to cater for multicultural masses but surely they could even get the basics correct. But I digress because this article is not about me complaining about the overall food at our hotel it's about pork at the hotel (or rather lack of).
Whilst surveying the buffet meals at the hotel, I noticed that the dishes had labels that said “bacon” “ham”, but I could tell that it wasn't pork and being a predominantly Muslim country I suspected that they wouldn't serve pork. For me this is not a problem. In fact I enjoyed the idea of how they were going to cook classic pork dishes with a substitute. For breakfast they served up chicken or beef chipolata sausages, the beef ones were okay but the chicken sausages were tasteless and looked very anaemic. They also served up thin slices of smoked beef that closely resembled bacon, it even had fat on it that looked like rind. They created a European breakfast, but used, turkey and chicken in place of ham. Whilst queuing for a freshly made omelette I would smile when I heard people asking for ham as an ingredient and they didn't realise it wasn't pork. One evening they served carbonara, which they made with smoked turkey slices, cut up like bacon, which didn't actually work, but 10 out of 10 for trying.
I travel to Dubai at least once a year and am able to purchase pork in most supermarkets and restaurants and so was surprised when I couldn't get pork at our hotel. I asked the head chef about this and he said that it was the hotel's policy of not serving pork in Egypt and that it is also very difficult to find Egyptian chefs that would prepare pork.
I did have a problem though, towards the end of the holiday as I wanted bacon, I wanted ham, I WANTED pork. Why is it when you can't have something, you desire it more (I am the same if I fly on a dry airline and you can't have a drink). On the last day of our holiday I said to my friends that I was really keen to have pork and that on my first full day at home, I was going to have a bacon sandwich for breakfast, ham sandwich for lunch and pork chops for dinner! Although my friends thought I was going a bit too far, they did agree about wanting something when you couldn't have it and they missed having pork.
Unfortunately my desire for pork couldn't wait that long. On the plane back home, they were serving a selection of foods, and luckily for me they had a hot bacon rbaguette left so with my continuing urge for pork I ordered one. I ate it so quickly it looked like I hadn't eaten for days. I also had a bacon sandwich this morning for breakfast and so have managed to subdue my pork craving. At least this weekend I am going to Berlin and won't have that problem as Germans love their pork, so I wonder if I'll get another craving........