September 29, 2003

Rage Against The Latrine

Filed under: Archives — mhoye @ 12:00 pm

Some of you, if you are sufficiently white and hang with the right
crowd, have been mocked for eating North-American-style Chinese
food. You know, chicken balls and so forth – ha ha, look at what the gwailo
ordered, that clod doesn’t know dumplings from deep-fried squash

Well, I’ve seen the other side of that, and you know what? They
are entirely right to mock, and mock hard; this weekend, I got a
chance to eat Hong-Kong-Style American food. Dear God, they’re
right; the other shoe dropped, and my stomach was directly
under it. I knew the meal was going to be dodgy when I ordered
the soup du jour, described on the english menu as “Russian Borscht“,
and the following conversation ensued:

“Er, Mike?”


“I don’t think you’re going to get borscht.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, when the waiter repeated it, he didn’t say anything about
beets or Russians. He said ‘vegetable soup’.”


“He said the chinese words for ‘vegetable soup’.”

“No way. There’s just no way you can mistake vegetable soup for
borscht. None.”

“Well, let’s see.”

And, lo and behold, standard issue Campbells vegetable soup. Not
even a token dollop of sour cream. The most Russian thing about
it was that it seemed to be struggling to decide whether or not to
stay red. And the steak, the steak in pepper sauce. It defies
description. But let me talk about some of the flavours that came
with it; have you ever had a cup of coffee, a plain cup of light-roast
Colombian, where you could tell that last thing brewed in that pot was
hazelnut-vanilla-irish-cream-raspberry-decaf? Well, this steak was a
lot like that.

Go Go Gadget Stomach.

Folks, if you’ve got the choice between “A-Style B” or just “B”
(assuming that A is not some cultural subset of B) my advice is just
to go for straight up B, whatever B might be. Please, heed my words;
I don’t want all that time I spent on the can to have been for nothing.

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