Most foodstuffs are derived from natural flavours, or in the case of strawberry sweets aspire to natural flavours. Even items which are glaringly artificial, like bright blue Powerade or Mountain Dew still try to suggest that their flavours are at least rooted initially in something possibly equally sickly in the natural world. There is one foodstuff though that seems to delight in its chemically nastiness, in its almost radioactive malevolent glow and yet seems beloved by half the people in the world. That’s right – Chinese Sweet And Sour Sauce.

Actually I shouldn’t place too much blame on the Chinese who as a nation probably do not have much to do with the bright red stuff which turns up in a sawn off polystyrene cup. It is a collaboration between the Chinese ex-pats and the grand British palate, one which likes bold flavours, and bright colours in equal measure. Ideal for dunking food in a surprisingly thick crisp batter in, made all the more repulsive if the food contained in the ball is so hot it will burn your tongue off. Why does every Chinese Set Menu come replete with this horror?

I am not aware of anyone of my generation who actively likes Sweet And Sour (though I am almost certainly missing someone our). My parents on the other hand are mad for the stuff. Possibly it was the first truly alien tastes they had as kids, now it is just clear that this is the foremost alien food in the world. I can certainly see that scene in the initial Alien when the acid blood drips and burns through the deck remade. Instead of the milky white acid, there would be glowing goo. ‘My god, the blood, it’s like some sort of strong…Sweet And Sour sauce.’ Now that would be freaky.