Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The starch girls

As I’m getting ready for a holiday in Europe, I obviously try to get the very most out of China before I leave, including:

• Pampering such as massages, manicure, pedicure
• Speaking as much Chinese as possible with my Chinese friends
• Indulging in a lot of spicy food

However, the whole pampering thing has become a down prio, as I’ve realised that I enjoy my other two priorities much more.

Some days ago, my best girlfriend and I went to one of our favourite Sichuan joints.

-Looks full, she said, as we stepped in and were greeted by a noisy, smoky but happy environment.

-Yup, I confirmed, trying to locate a free table.

-你们好!(Nimen hao!) Came the manager, who I’ve seen many times before, and, who must have recognized us, as he smiled a little bit too wide.

-No tables today? I asked.

-Always a table for you girls!

Yes, he definitely recognized us.

And, magically, he showed us to a free table.

Five seconds later a female waitress appeared with a menu.

While we started flicking through it, she stood by our side all the time, until she finally said, with some obvious impatience in her tone of voice:

-The mushroom dish that you are looking for is here.

She grabbed the menu and flicked the pages until… ta, da, out favourite mushroom dish appeared.

-One of these, she said to herself and wrote on her notepad.

-Eh… yes. We agreed.

-What else? Tofu?

-Eh, yes.

-Do you want your spicy noodles today or rice?

-Eh… spicy noodles. Yes. And rice.

-You want BOTH rice AND spicy noodles. That’s way too much.

-Eh, but we want both.

-Ah, you two. You always order the same and you always order too much!

We just stared at her, chins dropping to the floor.

-But we won’t waste it… I started, we will…

-You will get the leftovers in a doggy bag and take it as take away, oh yes, I know. Like you always do!


-Still, I think you girls eat too much starch.

-Eh, er… well.

-Yeah don’t worry, you’ll get your noodles still.

-Eh… great! Thanks! Don't forget the rice!

Right. Time for us to change restaurant maybe? Or, maybe we should change up our order a bit? Then again, it’s so good?! And why change something that is good?

But damn. I thought all laowais looked the same to Chinese people? That’s what my friends often tell me. But apparently Chinese people too, learn to remember you by your habits. We are obviously the two doggy bag starch girls at this joint.


Anna Davidson said...

I too thought that the Chinese thought that all laowai looked the same, but I recently went back to my old Chinese 'home town', Wuxi, and went to all my favourite restaurants etc and all the staff recognised me! After 18 months of being away!

nova said...

hahaha that's hilarious!

Unknown said...

I love going places and having people recognize you! That food looks wonderful!

ordinary malaysian said...

Hilarious if not exasperating! Why, the waitress is so kay bo (busybody)! She should mind her own business what you wanted to order and how much. If I were the boss, probably would ask her to leave. Who knows some customers might be turned off by her and never return! But a funny post nevertheless, the way you put it and so coolly. Really enjoyed reading this post.

Kate said...

We have a 'date night' hang out that we go to every Friday night. The management and even the main cook recognize us and greet us cheerfully each week. They all know our favorite dishes. They usually throw in our drinks (soda, that is) for free and have even treated us to our meal for free on two occasions just for being such loyal customers. One of the managers even brought out a picture of her new baby to show us when she got back from maternity leave. There is something very wonderful in the community feeling of being recognized and knowing the people you go to for food! I don't see it as a bad thing... other than the criticism of your food choices!