Friday, September 22, 2006

Say It Isn't So

It doesn't really matter if this part is true; it's what I remember: I grew up in the Westlake section of Daly City, and there was a Chinese restaurant called "The Great Wall," and when you walked in you were immediately met with a glossy red circular architectural element and plenty of gold fringe. We used to take my grandparents there all the time.

This part is definitely true: Our menu selections always began with an order of silky Westlake Minced Beef Soup. I thought it was called this because it was invented at The Great Wall restaurant in the Westlake section of Daly City. I have believed this all my life, and have always felt a certain hometown pride when I would see Westlake Minced Beef Soup listed on the menu of Chinese restaurants far and wide.

(I love Westlake Minced Beef Soup)

Last night, when trying to scare up an idea for dinner, I realized I had all the ingredients for this beloved soup: beef, chinese parsley, green onion, eggs, chicken broth. It would have been easy enough to approximate the recipe, but I decided to google it just for the sake of googling it. And here is a blow-by-blow of my reactions as I read through one of the recipes:

Hmmm...first marinade the beef in a little soy sauce, sugar, pepper and cornstarch. I wouldn't have thought to do that. Hmmm...whip the eggs with some flour and then pour them into the soup through a sieve. Definitely wouldn't have done that. Hmmm..."Westlake minced beef soup probably takes its name from West Lake in Guangzhou, the soup's province of origin."

*look of horror and confusion*

Excuse me? Do you mean to tell me that Westlake Minced Beef Soup was not invented at the Great Wall restaurant in the Westlake Section of Daly City?

And just like that, my entire world was flipped topsy-turvy.

But I made the soup, and it was good.


Shuboy said...

why do I have absolutely no recollection of this "Great Wall" place??? I will admit that I, too, beamed with a certain amount of home town pride when I see that soup on menus.

Shuboy said...
bring back any memories? it's funny looking at those houses now. there's something really groovy about them. I specifically remembering the house in the photo just below the "Westlake" sign shot. Never thought much about it back then, but looking at it now, it seems sooo cool.

ver said...

I do remember that house (in fact, I feel like I remember all of those houes)! Can you imagine it with a paint job...

Kate said...

This is really amusing! And for your information, there is a Great Wall Restaurant in Sacramento, California, and when you walk in, you are immediately faced with a big curved architechural element as well, only ours is made with glass bricks. Plenty of gold and red fringe, though. It's a Mongolian BBQ grill, so no West Lake Soup! Maybe there is a vast network of Great Wall restaurants and they all have the same designer.