Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Day 11: Jaded Cuisine

We stayed near our grandparents place on Wednesday. Some out of town relatives were in town to have dinner with us. We went out to the local Chinese restaurant (Jade Garden) in Bochum-Linden. This was a most interesting experience.

We filed into the restaurant one by one, each saying "Guten Tag" to the host, except Karen and I who decided we'd use our more natural tongue and said "Knei ho" in Cantonese. The host, rather surprised, answered back in Cantonese but then had a rather distressed look on his face. Perhaps he was worried that we might overhear conversations in the kitchen or perhaps he was worried we might have undue expectations on his restaurant.

Actually it didn't take long to figure out what he was worried about. It was quickly exemplified when I tried to order Chrysanthemum tea. The look on the waiter's face was priceless. It was one of "what do you think this is, a chinese restaurant?!" To my tea request, he replied in Chinese, "we only have the stuff the white man orders". So I said, "fine" and received Chamomile tea.

Well tea mix ups aside, it was quite amusing to watch as we ordered what we considered more traditional Chinese dishes, and most of the other guests ordered what it seems most Germans liked to eat. In hindsight, perhaps we should have caved and ordered the popular dishes too as ours looked like it was a bit out of practice.

In all fairness though, restaurant owners really do have to cater to their guests tastes. This case is no different even if it does mean changing the meaning of "chinese cuisine". We did have a fun time getting to know the staff (as the only other chinese in town) and Erich got to know his great granduncle and aunt (seen in photo).

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