No poppy-seed bagels in Beijing

iStockphoto.com I’m not sure if my friends and coworkers agree, but I generally try to keep my New York snobbery to a minimum now that I live outside the five boroughs… except when it comes to bagels. The theory that New York tap water is necessary for the making of proper bagels may be an ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
593118_080820_bagel5.jpg
593118_080820_bagel5.jpg

iStockphoto.com

I'm not sure if my friends and coworkers agree, but I generally try to keep my New York snobbery to a minimum now that I live outside the five boroughs... except when it comes to bagels. The theory that New York tap water is necessary for the making of proper bagels may be an urban legend but for some reason, bagels outside New York simply don't taste the same.

So I'm somewhat skeptical of New York Times food critic Jennifer 8. Lee's assurances that you can get decent bagels (or "doughnut-shaped Jewish bread" as they are described on one Chinese Web site) in Beijing, although the fact that the Chinese-American owner of Mrs. Shanen's Bagels was raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, is encouraging. But Lee's dispatch does provide another reason to be outraged by the excesses of the global drug war:

iStockphoto.com

I’m not sure if my friends and coworkers agree, but I generally try to keep my New York snobbery to a minimum now that I live outside the five boroughs… except when it comes to bagels. The theory that New York tap water is necessary for the making of proper bagels may be an urban legend but for some reason, bagels outside New York simply don’t taste the same.

So I’m somewhat skeptical of New York Times food critic Jennifer 8. Lee’s assurances that you can get decent bagels (or “doughnut-shaped Jewish bread” as they are described on one Chinese Web site) in Beijing, although the fact that the Chinese-American owner of Mrs. Shanen’s Bagels was raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, is encouraging. But Lee’s dispatch does provide another reason to be outraged by the excesses of the global drug war:

Because of the country’s association with opium, poppy seeds are illegal in China. […] She emphatically stated, “No one is going to get a poppy seed bagel in Beijing.”

A bagel shop that offers chocolate chip and jalapeño but not poppy seed? Now you know it’s time to legalize it.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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