Daisy Bateman

Lunchtime Tourism

Today I went out to lunch with a couple of my coworkers, to a place nearby that specializes in Hong Kong-style food. Melanie, who is from Hong Kong, chose it, which seemed like a pretty good guaranteer of authenticity, though I was a bit surprised by the garlic bread and minestrone soup they served as starters (apparently, Asianized versions of Western food are as popular there as Westernized versions of Asian food are here). But the lunch options were authenitic to the point where I didn’t recognize most of them, so I decided it was time to be adventuresome. After all, I watch No Reservations, don’t I? And I want to be like Tony, fearlessly travelling the world and discovering fabulous meals in the most unlikely places, right? So what better way to start than by sampling the exotic foods right in my own backyard? (Actually, in the strip mall down the street from the office park, but same diff.) So I survey the menu, and choose, semi-randomly, “e-mein in XO sauce”, which my dining companions explained was noodles. What can go wrong with noodles?
And indeed, my order came and it was tasty. For about forty-five seconds. Then the chili sauce caught up to me and it became painfully obvious that there was no way that I, with my weak white-girl taste buds, was ever going to be able to eat this dish. So Melanie flagged down the waitress and, after some discussion (in Cantonese), she (the waitress) offered me a replacement entree. Which was awfully nice of her, seeing as how it was hardly the restaurant’s fault that I didn’t know what I was ordering. (I got the distinct impression that I was being treated as the clueless tourist; not that I’m complaining.) So I just admitted defeat and ate my chicken chow fun. With a fork, because at this point, who was I kidding?

Leave a Comment