Thursday, February 01, 2018

THE NIGHT OF SNAPPING JAWS

Stealthily the huntress stalked her prey. Silently, softly, she paced forward, her bright eyes intent on any sign of warmth, of life. The animal that was the object of this attention was quite unaware of it, but instinctively preferred caution over overt movements. The huntress peered keenly around corners, her whiskers twitching almost imperceptibly.

Scratch that; she didn't have whiskers.
Or sharp claws.


It was a slow evening. A rat had scurried from the cash register to where the drinks were prepared, then hid itself. The boss lady had seen it, and seemed determined to do something to the unwelcome visitor.
I watched as I waited for my food to arrive.
Seated at my table in the back.
Perfect vantage point.


As you would expect, after yesterday's post about chachanteng food, I had ordered a popular Hong Kong dish.


Salt fish and chicken fried rice (鹹魚雞粒炒飯 'haam yü gai naap chaau faan') is not, strictly speaking, an American Chinese restaurant favourite, because most Americans are baffled by the first-named ingredient, and have a hard time imagining canned tuna in soy-drenched brown rice.

It's actually light and flavourful. Cooked rice, shredded lettuce, chicken chunks, and fragments of salt fish functioning very much like bacon bits, briefly fried fragrant, scallion added, the whole dumped steaming onto a plate. So good, so good. And too damned much for the single man.

Half of it is now in the refrigerator. Midnight snack or breakfast. Heat it up with some white pepper and chili sauce, wash it down with a little whisky or strong coffee. Enjoy it twice.


No, I don't know what the rat ate. In a neighborhood where there can be up to a dozen food places within a block, one must naturally expect a bit of opportunistic wildlife. Especially because San Francisco does not believe in sending garbage trucks into working class areas where there aren't enough prosperous white people to make it all worth while.
See, Wasps make us seem world-class.
Yellow people don't.


I shan't mention the name of the restaurant or the street, because their food is excellent and they run a class operation. They're honest and hardworking. I have never been disappointed, and I know that fastidious outsiders might take a friendly furry presence amiss. "Heavens", they would exclaim in a panicky fashion, "we will have rabies or the plague, aaargh!"
Then they would decide to burn the place down.
And leave bad reviews on Yelp.
Overwrought.


It was the perfect preamble to a good smoke.
Virginias in a well-loved pipe.
Ah, heaven.





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