Sunday, June 6, 2010

Going out to lunch... ON JAPANESE TV!

Demi took Hui Lian and I out to lunch a few days ago. It was a restaurant owned by one of our student's parents so she worked the connections to get us a discount. Because that's what you do when you're Chinese - you work your connections. It was amazing.

But let's not go for everyday run-of-the-mill amazing food narration. That gets old. Let's instead describe this meal like we would on JAPANESE TV!

(Imagine, if you will, a 10-second clip of a very grand European orchestral theme. Ride of the Valkyries, perhaps. Yes, that will do nicely. Now, play that intermittently throughout the narration - always the same 10 second clip. Ah, yes, that will set the mood. Thanks for your help - remember... I can only be so multimedia here.)

Now let's start out with our introduction:


(Audience: collective gasp)

We're here at a beef noodles restaurant in Xinfeng, wondering if the Taiwanese food they sell is delicious.

(Ride of the Valkyries) IS IT DELICIOUS?

These are the little cold vegetable appetizers. Pickled papaya, wild greens salad with mayonnaise and peanut powder, pickled cucumbers and pao cai - pickled cabbage.

What do we think, hosts? Are they delicious? They're looking pretty delicious!

And this: this is a very special Taiwan specialty. (Because you know how Asians love our regional specialties!) This is what they call 「豆花」. It's a tofu custard in a sweet ginger broth. What do you think. DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE DELICIOUS?

(Ride of the Valkyries)

Female host: It looks pretty delicious.

Male host: I don't know. It might be OK, but I'm not quite sure it will be delicious. Sometimes you find things that look delicious but aren't.

Audience: EEEEEEeeeee?

Female host: Well, there's only one way to find out. (Tastes it. Her eyes get huge) DELICIOUS!

Male host: (Tastes) Pretty delicious

American guest eaters: TOTALLY DELICIOUS!

Demi and I give the douhua a try. Bright red letters flash on the screen: RISKY! RISKY! (Ride of the Valkyries)

But we're saved by the cute tofu icons that pop on screen with a charming little sound effect: "Boing!"

And guess what? IT'S DELICIOUS!

The last dish is the pièce de résistance. Mung bean (綠豆) noodles with beef. Cooked with some tender greens, bean sprouts and scallions. I'm not even exaggerating when I say it was....


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