Saturday, August 15, 2020


When you look at a sweet young thing eating a burrito, to what do you pay most attention? Do you focus on the fact that she is pretty in a Cantonese way? Do you try to analyze the filling, or note that there appears to be an excess of cheese in her 墨西哥卷 ('mak sai go keun'; "Mexican roll").
Do you ask her where she got it?

Based on past experience, and the wisdom of many years, I suspect that exlaiming "ah siu jeh, ko-go mak-sai-go keun kam leeeeeng ga, hai pin tou mai ge?" would have disturbed the young lady.


Prefacing almost anything with ah siu jeh (呀小姐; miss, familiarly) and drawing out the adjective ( 靚 'leng' pretty, beautiful, attractive, but here applied to the burrito) makes the entire sentence skeevy as all git out.

[小姐 ('siu jeh') simply means 'miss', and can be politely used to address any woman. Adding the praefix 阿 ('ah') to it makes it both more polite and more familial. Which, if there's any chance of misinterpretation, is not a good thing. If you're calling me 'uncle', then ah sook (阿叔) is good. Ah-yeh (阿爺) isn't. Shan't explain.]

I can sound like a creep in almost any language.
But especially in Cantonese. It's a talent.

It would also be a waste of time; Cantonese girls who eat burritos almost by definition went to grammar school and high school here, and don't speak Cantonese well enough to communicate easily with a linguistically flexible white guy. If they went to college here too, you might as well forget it.

Besides, it wouldn't get me the information I want, namely: is it nearby, and do they also have carnitas?

The most important thing about a pretty Cantonese woman devouring a burrito is whether carnitas is an option at the taqueria where the comestible was purchased.

[Carnitas:「卡尼塔 ('kaa nei taap')」 豬油煨豬肉 ('chü yau wui chü yiuk'), also incorrectly called 脆皮猪肉 ('cheui pei chü yiuk'). 脆皮 ('cheui pei') means crispy skinned, which is just plain wrong. The pork is simmered (煨 'wui') in lard (豬油 'chü yau') for three or four hours, resulting in rich, delicious, tender, succulent meat. If you are very white you don't eat this; probably to much gluten and bad karma for you. 慢火油煨豬肉真係美味 ('man fo yau wui chü yiuk jan hai mei mei'; slow-fire lard-simmered pig meat truly is delicious.)。 ]

Just asking in English "where did you get that delicious-looking burrito?" would be much more likely to get me a useful response. I bring this up because today was burrito day at work; the Cantonese miss scarfing down a yummy comestible was two years ago, when I was still at death's door. Being clobbered by a young lady might well have pushed me over the cliff. Sadly, neither of the two coworkers who are frequently partners in burrito days actually look charming or pretty when shoving a burrito into their mouths (sorry, Hector), they're just having a darn good time.

Didn't ask, wasn't clobbered. So I'm still here.
And I've gotten better since then.

Dinner this evening was roast duck and rice (燒鴨飯 'siu ngaap faan'). Purchased in Chinatown by my apartment mate, who unlike Caucasian ladies of that age does not worry about good karma bad karma gluten free peanuts low cholesterol wheatgrass paleo is it spiritual and green dolphin-saving non-gmo crappahooe. Her cholesterol levels are fine, and she's quite trim. She didn't feel like cooking herself a meal today. When I got home she was dozing on her bed, replete, with a happy stuffed animal (a turkey vulture) beside her.

I've never asked her about carnitas.

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