Monday, August 15, 2011

An end of pies?

A few weeks ago, we suffered a momentous event in my favourite local bar, 12 Square Metres - someone ate the very last pie.

And it wasn't me. I'm a bit annoyed they didn't tip me off that this was going to happen, so that I could have - if not bagged the very last one for my own - at least made a point of enjoying one again for the last time, for a bit of 'closure', for a fond farewell.

The Shanghai Pie Company, a laowai outfit which produces these "Aussie style" savoury beef pies, appears to be still going strong; so, I must assume that they have judged it uneconomical to distribute their products in Beijing any more.

To be honest, I never did eat that many of them. Even JK the boss frequently discouraged people - his regulars, anyway - from buying them, because, at the 40 kuai he felt obliged to charge for them, they really weren't very good value: tasty, yes, but small - more a snack than a meal, you really needed to eat at least two of them to feel anything like full.

However, they were a very welcome emergency option - when you felt desperately peckish, and all the nearby Chinese options had palled for a while. 

And I shall particularly miss the secondhand experience - even better than the actual eating of them, somehow. When they started to warm through in the microwave, they'd suddenly unleash a flood of exquisite aroma - rich beef gravy redolent with thyme: taunting, tantalising, mouth-watering. Gosh, yes, that's been one of the highlights of an evening down at 12SqM - I'm going to miss it.

The search is on for an alternative source of supply - but the Shanghai Pie is going to be a very hard act to follow.

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