Thursday, January 25, 2018

PERFECT: FISH, RICE, AND SAMBAL

One thing I have not failed to notice is that my apartment mate does not spend an hour or two outside smoking a pipe. Which explains a lot. For one thing, she doesn't smoke a pipe, for another, that's why the socks she gave me for Hanukkah are too thin. And in combination with my worn-out shoes, they utterly fail to keep my tootsies warm in rainy winter weather.
The conclusions is obvious: that girl needs to smoke a pipe.
Either we both get to stay in, or thicker socks.

She'll probably clout me if I suggest it.

I have no wish to be clobbered.

Small, but fierce.


Yesterday it rained, and by late afternoon it was getting colder. When I left the house for dinner in Chinatown, naturally my feet got wet.


The grandma that tends the front of the restaurant when her daughter and grand-daughter are out speaks something from beyond Toisan, and though she understands Cantonese, sometimes because of what she mis-heard, she may jump to conclusions. Especially with Caucasians. Consequently I had to correct her before it was too late: 'leung gwa paan kau faan' (涼瓜班球飯) instead of 'leung gwa ngau yiuk faan' (涼瓜牛肉飯).
Bitter melon with fish collops over rice.
Not bitter melon beef rice.
White customer?
Beef!

[In Hong Kong, the same dish is often called 涼瓜班腩飯 ('leung gwa paan naam faan'). Either way, Americans are not known as great fish eaters ... ]

What dialect is it that turns 'gwa' into 'kaa', and 'ngau yiuk' into 'hoh ngeuk'?
I'm guessing it's peripheral to the country districts immediately surrounding Guangzhou, because most of their customers are either Toishanese or urban Cantonese, some from Hong Kong. She probably speaks better Mandarin than I could manage, because she's always avidly watching soap operas in the afternoon on a small television.

Her little grand-daughter came in while I was happily sploodging sambal onto my fish, and removed her shoes, which were sopping wet. Small and pretty feet. She then put on her mom's shoes (room to spare), and started doing her homework. She remembers me, but does not feel comfortable disturbing 'uncle smelly pipe smoker' when he's stuffing his face.

[Even though it was dark outside, it was my breakfast. I had quite forgotten to eat earlier, and was ravenous.]


Uncle smelly pipe smoker finished his meal, then went out to enjoy some tobacco. It was raining harder than ever. My feet ended up soaked and freezing, and near the end of the bowl tremors were setting in.
All in all, it was a good evening.


Uncle smelly pipe smoker recommends eating in Chinatown.


Food food.



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