At the back of the hill

Warning: May contain traces of soy, wheat, lecithin and tree nuts. That you are here
strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton.
And that you might like cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017


It's a common belief among some folks that Chinese restaurants hide the best food among the daily specials posted on the wall, which are written in characters that Caucasians cannot read. "Totally delicious, but they don't want us to have any!" And there are so many things that the desperate white gourmand would like to eat but cannot.
He's utterly despondent.


The astute wall specials reader will instantly recognize that what is offered in those five characters is a flash in the pan, as it were. Something quick for the person on the go. And let's see if it proves popular among the target audience (neighborhood people), before we bother translating it. Two slices Spam browned in a skillet, with a fried egg, over a bowl of instant noodles, and perhaps a vegetable of some sort added. Sorry, I cannot imagine most Anglos lining up for that, and there are not enough Hawaiians in this city to make it one of their best sellers to a "foreign" audience either. Here's the google search that shows you exactly what to expect: 餐蛋公仔麵 -- Images. It's a typical Hong Kong lunch concept.
Good with a cup of milk tea.

The same place that offers the Spam & egg noodles also had freshly pressed soy bean milk, soft fresh tofu with syrup, all kinds of bubble tea, Ovaltine, orange juice, carrot juice, and various ice creams.
All of which is on the wall in Chinese.
阿華田 ('ah waa tin').

The macaroni (通粉) dishes are also advertised in Chinese. Ham and egg macaroni, chicken chunk macaroni, luncheon meat macaroni, shrimp macaroni, chicken soup and chopped ham macaroni .....

It's not that they're hiding all the good stuff from Whitey, but that Whitey is a very hard customer to deal with, barking all kinds of difficult questions, pointing and exclaiming, and then usually asks for the restroom key.
Often without buying anything .......

Except for a nice elderly couple yesterday, who looked at everything, asked what it was, bought a few of each to sample later without understanding all of the explanation, and happily spent about twenty or thirty bucks on Chinese baked goods without any fuss and bother.
And then didn't need the key at all.

[The key is hidden in the slot between the register and the display case with pandan Swiss roll cakes (班蘭瑞士蛋糕卷 'baan-laan seui-si daan-gou kuen'), if you must know.]

The two greatest advantages of being able to read Chinese yesterday were recognizing the wall special as an old familiar that didn't need any clarifying despite the dense abbreviation ("dine egg doll noodle"), and knowing what the foot and half tall person with the floppity hair that made her round head look bigger in proportion was excitedly singing about.

"Ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou, ji baau dan gou!"

A sponge or chiffon (紙包蛋糕), single serving, light and fluffy.
Described by Wikipedia: Paper wrapped cake.
Lots of Google images.

She was a very nice little girl, and her dad buying her ji baau dan gou really did make the world sunny and bright.

Unless 紙包蛋糕 or a nice cup of 港式奶茶 can make your world sunny and bright, you do not need to know what it is.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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