Orange chicken, beef and broccoli, a cup of fried rice and you have Chinese food. At least, that’s how I categorized the nation’s entire food supply until I came here. In China, food isn’t simply a meal for a foreigner. It’s an experience. Failing to order the right food and grappling with my chopsticks are only parts of the adventure when I sit down in a restaurant.
Ordering food has been one of the most challenging aspects of this trip. Often times, not every dish has a photograph displayed, so essentially it all becomes a childish guessing game of my father and I guessing what type of vegetables or meat we’re eating. The experience can be just as grueling for the waiters as it can be for us. Waiters dread serving us since we take triple the time to order food in comparison to the locals. In one of our favorite Sichuan restaurants, it took 3 waiters and 15 minutes for us to order only our drinks. I simply wanted water, but my dad wanted to try one of the fresh juice options they had listed on the menu. There were two problems, however. There were neither pictures nor English on the menu. After several hand gestures and charades, he ended up ordering just a coca cola to simplify things.
The Chopstick Challenge - Chinese food experience through the eyes of an American