Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

November 29, 2013

ARNABarbecue: Nice to Meat You

Korean BBQ restaurants are immensely popular for dinner, especially to commemorate celebratory occasions. For the birthday of a Danish friend, we ventured to a busy barbecue house in a lively student area in Seoul. Although the meat and accompaniments are provided by the BBQ restaurant, the cooking is usually done by the diners themselves. They have to carefully transfer the meat from the plate it sits on and place it on the barbecue. 

The pieces of meat have to be turned over in a timely fashion so that they do not get charred or stuck to the grill. Scissors can be used to cut the meat into more manageable chunks. Adjustable overhead vents suck up the smoke. Clothes can be stuffed in to large plastic bags or in the empty space underneath ones seat, so that they do not end up smelling of juicy strips of pork or beef. 

We could tell that at this particular restaurant the meat was very fresh. When it was brought to our table it was still in the original wrapping from the grocery store it was purchased from, complete with price tag. I kept the price tag (410g of beef for 41,000 Korean won) as a souvenir. As the night continued, we ended up at a bar. Outside the restroom I was waiting in line behind a beauty, who noticed the price tag affixed to my chest.

K-girl: You are beef?

Me: Do you like beef?

K-girl: No... I like pork.

September 25, 2013

Night Fishing in Jeju

After jointly devouring a large hamburger that shared the same dimensions as a medium sized pizza somewhere in the middle of Jeju, my two travel companions and I rushed towards the coastline of Korea's favourite island. We squeezed in a visit to see the perfectly hexagonal basalt formations formed by the cooling of liquid lava at Jungmun Beach, before continuing onwards in our rented car at a breakneck pace to a dock where a boat awaited to take us night fishing.

I was traveling with a Korean woman and an American man. The lady was the only one with a valid driving license so she had rented a car. The American and I could only hope for the best as we burned rubber across Jeju. We arrived at the secluded dock with minutes to spare before the launch took off. Prior to stepping onto the deck of our fishing vessel, we loaded up on some supplies to get us through the night - bait, fishing gloves, and some snacks. Several Korean vacationers also joined us on board.

As the sun set and darkness embraced us we sailed out into the open ocean along with a few other fishing vessels. We dropped anchor after we were an adequate distance out into open water and well spaced apart from the other potential night fishermen and women. The floodlights were turned on, illuminating the vessel and a small region around us. Luckily, no one on our boat felt sea sick so we could stay out longer than the other vessels.

A crew member showed me how to take the shrimp we were using as bait and attach it to the fish hook. It was a bit like threading a needle. On my first attempt I hooked my glove instead of the bait, and battled the fishing rod for a while until the crew member prevented me from becoming the first fisherman to catch himself with his own fishing rod. I soon became adept at the process and in no time was catching mackerel like there was no tomorrow. The fish would be yanked on to the ship, disengaged from the hook, and tossed into a bucket.

Mackerels are known for swimming near the surface and for easily being tricked into taking the bait. Their limited intellect makes them the ideal candidate for novice fishermen such as myself. My Korean friend caught the most fish, with the equally inexperienced American and I lagging far behind. The crew kindly cut and cleaned the fish for dinner. They even brought out a portable stove for us foreigners, as they were worried we would not be able to handle raw fish. I tried both the cooked and uncooked varieties, but preferred the raw one.


The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope. ~ John Buchan

August 05, 2013

Horsing Around in Jeju

After several action packed days in Jeju spent fishing in the open seas and climbing 2000 meter high mountains, my last day on the beautiful South Korean island was much more laid back. The morning was allotted to wandering part of the world's best network of lava tubes, the evening to relaxing on several beaches, and the night on locating some of Jeju's fabled horse meat.

The lava tubes were formed as rivers of fire cut conduits through the island, leaving behind a geological treasure that hosts a diverse range of rock formations. The kilometre long lava tube is dark, as tunnels tend to be, with water dripping from up above in many spots. Enough artificial lighting has been added to make the tunnel walkable, but a solid camera is still needed to get proper shots in the dark.

The first beach we visited had clear aquamarine water and gigantic jellyfish, but not much else. We had not had any lunch so we decided to find a less isolated beach with more dining options. As we waited patiently at the bus stop to get from one beach to another, a friendly local offered us a ride. His English was unexpectedly existent, so were able to engage in basic communication. He took us to our beach destination via a scenic coastal route rather than the main highway so we could enjoy the view. Behind us, Hallasan dominated the skyline. In front of us, the sun put on a spectacular show as it set.

Although not very keen on the prospect, my travel companions agreed to accompany me on a hunt for horse meat for dinner. After several false starts and dead ends, we finally made our way to a horse house on the other side of town from where we initially began our quest for equine flesh. My two travel companions were hesitant about ponying up too much cash for horse meat, especially after seeing the hefty price tag for all the items on the menu.

"Fetishes are expensive" grumbled my Dutch friend, shooting me a look of disapproval. We went for the basic course rather than the lavish spread proposed by the staff. We were the only customers in the restaurant, but were still ushered into a private room before we were served our night mare. The marinated horse meat was quite succulent, making for a memorable last supper in Jeju.


"A lovely horse is always an experience... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words." ~ Beryl Markham

July 17, 2013

Green Tea in Boseong

When an extremely rare three day long weekend appeared on the calendar, most of Korea was on the move. A journey from one end of South Korea to the other should take at most around 5 hours. My bus ride to Boseong lasted 10 hours, but bumper to bumper traffic on the national highway was only part of the problem. I was traveling with a friend who was headed over to his hometown of Wando in the same general direction. We were already over an hour behind schedule by the time we escaped the holiday related chaos at the express bus terminal in Gangnam.

The rest areas on the highway were packed, so we were redirected to a makeshift facility which was nothing more than a giant parking lot with several portable potties. The consistently predictable mistake or sadistic tendency of planners and architects around the world to put the same number of male and female stalls without calibrating for the physiological and behavioural differences of each gender proved our downfall here. The men finished their business in around 15 minutes despite the 200 meter long line up. Several cheated and just took leak at the side of the parking lot, away from any prying double eyelids. The women took another hour as the men snoozed on the bus.

At another rest stop we waited for half an hour for two missing passengers to show up, until the driver got a call that the the pair of dimwits had boarded another bus which somehow happened to have the exact same two seats free. That bus had deposited them in the middle of the highway, and we picked them up en route. "I can't even understand Korean but I got on the right bus. How difficult can it be?" moaned an under-skilled yet over-compensated English teacher who was headed for the annual Boseong Green Tea Festival as well.

By the time we finally reached Boseong it was dinner time. My friend and I enjoyed a sumptuous pork barbecue before he continued on to his hometown. I dropped my backpack at a minbak (guesthouse) operated by an old grannie and then enjoyed a cultural performance in the town's main square. I returned to the guesthouse early so the grandmother would not have to stay awake too long waiting for me.

This allowed me to wake up extremely early the following day and reach the tea fields before the holiday crowds stormed the idyllic location, a frequent backdrop for locally produced movies and television serials. The plantations were a vivid shade of green, akin to the colour that my face changes to every time I see an irresistible Korean beauty accompanied by an effeminate boyfriend with about as much personality as he has body hair.

Apart from the green tea itself, I tried out some green tea yogurt and ice cream at some of the festival stalls. As a kind and thoughtful colleague, I bought some green tea crackers at the tourist shop within the grounds of the tea field. I handed the gift to a coworker who laughed cruelly upon examining it, pointing to the fine print on the packaging stating the crackers had been manufactured somewhere near Seoul and not in Boseong itself.


Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities will always be the favourite beverage of the intellectual. ~ Thomas de Quincey 

July 10, 2013

Ice Fishing at Hwacheon

My fishing skills are about as well honed as the critical thinking abilities of an average South Korean youth. Nevertheless, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit the annual ice fishing festival in Hwacheon. The region is the first part of South Korea to freeze over in winter time. After a hearty dakgalbi luncheon at Chuncheon and a scenic drive past snow covered hills and frozen lakes, I arrived at the site of the Hwacheon Sancheoneo (Mountain Trout)  Festival.

The well organized event is a heavy favourite of young families. The lengthy sheet of ice that plays host to the festival is divided up into plots with separate entrances so that the crowds are distributed evenly across the frozen surface of Hwacheoncheon. Fishing equipment is readily available at stalls beside the entrances, although using bare hands is a fun alternative. The holes in the ice had already been dug, but I am unaware whether it was the handiwork of festival organizers or prior visitors. I tried several different holes of varying sizes.

Some of the 10,000 daily visitors were heavily invested into the activity, sticking their heads into the holes to see if they could catch a glimpse of any sea creatures. Others were more nonchalant about their participation in the festival. A K-girl was glued to her smartphone, operating the gigantic device with one hand and weakly holding the fishing rod with the other as if it was an overpriced vanilla latte. It was speculated that she was playing an addictive fishing game on her phone.

At regularly scheduled intervals a truck would pull up to the edge of the river bed. Festival staff would throw hundreds of trout transported from parts unknown into the water. A frenzy of activity would take place around this time, with many yelps of excitement emanating from attendees of indistinguishable gender as they celebrated their catch. The event is staged to ensure everyone comes out a winner, but despite an hour or so of focused effort and Korean office worker-like diligence I was unable to capture any trout.


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau 

June 03, 2013

Mad for Garlic... and Deodorant

Korean guy: Do you know why Korean girls don't like you? It's not just because you are Indian blood. It's also your bad smell.

Me: My bad smell? OK…

Korean guy: Western people think Koreans are stinky because they smell like garlic, no? But that is a normal thing here, so it is not a bad or weird.

Me: So I smell bad?

Korean guy: Yes. How many times do you use deodorant?

Me: Usually one time in the morning.

Korean guy: That's not enough. That's why you smell bad.

Me: What!? You expect me to apply it every four hours or something?

Korean guy: No, that's still not enough. You must use it every hour or two.

Me: That's too much.

Korean guy: No, you can't say that. That is normal thing here so you must do it.


On an interesting side note, the 'flower men' of South Korea make up less than 1% of the global male population yet account for over 20% of male cosmetic sales worldwide.

May 08, 2013

Chuncheon - Mimes, Fireballs, Waterfights, and Dakgalbi

Chuncheon hosts an international mime festival each year. Foreigners in Korea who do not fluently speak the local tongue soon become accomplished mimes themselves, so I was interested in seeing the abilities of some of my peers. The mime portion of the festival was rather boring though, with only a few moderately skilled performers on hand. The scene stealer was a spectacular set piece that dangled in the skies. A fireball was lifted above the crowds by a crane, held in place by a barely visible cable that did not hinder the effect of the great ball of fire.

What was supposed to be a mime festival broke out into a full fledged water fight on Chuncheon's main thoroughfare. Buckets of water were provided and the citizens let loose with much gusto. It was a welcome change from the stiff necked formality of Seoulites. One courageous little boy gingerly edged towards me, aimed his water pistol in my direction, gently squeezed the trigger, and ran away. His aim was true, as I had to wipe my glasses dry to regain my vision after his strike.

I grew hungry and headed for Myeongdong Dakgalbi Street, where a row of specialty restaurants awaited me. Chuncheon's claim to Korean fame is its delicious dakgalbi, a chicken dish mixed with vegetables, rice cakes, and occasionally cheese. It is cooked on the dining table on a large iron pan or directly over charcoal. Like a hot glance from a shy K-girl on a crowded subway, eating dakgalbi is a tantalizing experience that lingers on in one's memories for many days after.

November 05, 2012

The Magic Of Lotteria

Pointing at the dishes that other customers are eating or drawing animals on napkins are viable ways to order food in countries where no one speaks a common language with me, but on occasion a relaxing fast food outlet where I can read the menu and know what I am ordering is all I need. In China, Dico's always provided a welcoming spot to grab a quick bite. The South Korean equivalent of China's homegrown answer to McDonald's is Lotteria.

The menu offers Western favourites that are localized as well as some uniquely Korean additions like the crushed ice flake dessert known as patbingsoo. Some of the more interesting items to be found at Lotteria are a burger with a patty made of fried cheese and a meal designed exclusively for calorie conscious ladies. Staff members appear noticeably nervous whenever I approach the counter to order.

Enjoyed by millions of customers for over three sumptuous decades, Lotteria is owned by the Japan based but Korean owned firm Lotte. The conglomerate has its hands in everything from supermarkets to amusement parks. The name Lotteria is a deliriously clever combination of Lotte and cafeteria. Although the first outlet opened in Japan, Lotteria was the brainchild of a South Korean man and is much more popular in the Land of the Morning Calm than it is in the the Land of the Rising Sun. Lotteria's market share in South Korea hovers around 50% in the fast food segment so I never have to wander far before finding an outlet.


"The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end" - quote plastered on Lotteria wall

May 04, 2012

Finger Bowl

I was sitting at a restaurant in a Beijing alley with my coworkers when a dirty bowl of soup arrived at our table. One of my colleagues seized the opportunity to recount a Chinese pun:

Several friends were sitting together at a streetside eatery when the waiter arrived with a bowl of piping hot soup. His thumb was halfway submerged in it.

"Your finger is in the soup!" exclaimed one of the disgusted customers.

"Don't worry." the experienced waiter calmly replied. "It doesn't hurt."

December 21, 2011

A Man And His Dicos

Dicos is the premiere homegrown fast food chain in the People's Republic of China. Whenever I was in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 city and spotted a franchise, I would rejoice. At some point during my stay in that town, I would dine at Dicos. In a strange place the hint of the familiar is enough to calm the nerves. Be it at the beginning of the day before I braved the unknown, for a lunchtime break in the midst of adventuring, or to wile away the hours until a midnight train arrived to whisk me back to Beijing, Dicos was always there in my hour of need.

The heavyweight duo of KFC and McDonalds dominated the big cities, so Dicos focused on areas where they had yet to set foot in. Some of my travel partners sulked while I enjoyed each zesty bite of processed goodness, while others refused to enter the outlets altogether. During Ramadan in Kashgar there was barely a restaurant open, yet my fellow traveller Preston steadfastly refused to entertain the thought of obtaining sustenance at Dicos. Fortunately, most readily embraced the joy of Dicos. Friends would send me an instant message from afar, saying they had stumbled upon a Dicos in Inner Mongolia or some such place.

The staff at any Dicos, being Chinese, found me completely incomprehensible. Once I pointed to a combo I wanted to order, but they only gave me the burger. I again pointed to the combo I wanted and they gave me another burger. The manager came out to see what all the fuss was about. He figured out I wanted a combo, so he added it to my increasingly long bill. Other travelers had similar experiences, often accepting the items they received (but had not ordered) with serene expressions on their faces.

Physically a Dicos outlet looks like a cross between a McDonalds and KFC outlet. The format and presentation of the food is similar. It tastes somewhat better, but not in any discernible manner. Perhaps it was the knowledge that my days in Dicos were limited to my time in the far reaches of China that made it so enjoyable. To know that no other foreigner had defiled the premises before I was an uplifting thought. I estimate I visited about 25-30 Dicos in my two and a half year stay in China.


Go: Dinner at Yoshinoya.
Preston: Why? 
Arnab: No Dicos nearby.
Preston: You are shameful.

November 12, 2011


Fans of Mass Transit Railways, Marginal Tax Rates, and Methionine Synthase Reductase may be dissapointed, but anyone who enjoys eating food will not be after enjoying a hearty lunch at Mavali Tiffin Room (MTR). My flatmate Shyam and I decided to go to Bangalore's favourite restaurant. The fare was vegeterian but delicious nonetheless. Not too spicy and not too pricy, what the landmark lacked in visual appearance it more than made up for in taste.

The service was extraordinary, not because I could distinguish the waiters from the clientele, but because how quickly empty plates were filled up within moments of the eater licking them clean. After the main course, ice cream was even served. I was encouraged to taste everything by the waiter who once noticed my hesitation at the appearance of some strange looking dishes. With our hunger satiated and our bellies expanded, we left our table satisfied. .0237 seconds later our seats were occupied by the next batch of eager diners.


"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard

August 02, 2011

ARNABeer: The World of Tsingtao

Tsingtao (pronounced ching-dao) is for all intents and purposes the national beer of China. It is not the best tasting beer in China, but it is the one with the most name recognition and availability. Beer advocates give Tsingtao a 'C', griping that it is the colour of urine but grudgingly admitting that it goes well with spicy Chinese cuisine. It is not even officially the world's most consumed beer, with that honour belonging to its tastier compatriot Snow.

Fiercely potent rice wine, baijiu, has been the staple drink of the nation for generations, but now faces stiff competition from its less alcoholic brethren. Beer is steadily gaining popularity as China's middle class swells like the belly of a mother awaiting to give birth to her only child. Tsingtao is leading the way, both locally and as the leading exporter of Chinese beers. Germans living in the coastal Shandong city of Qingdao founded the Tsingtao Brewery in 1903.

Although pronounced the same, the beer and the city are spelled differently in English. Tsingtao is spelled using the old Wade-Giles romanization of Chinese, while Qingdao is the spelling using the present day pinyin system. The brewery fell into Japanese hands during their invasion of the Heavenly Kingdom, before being repatriated and privatized after the People's Republic was founded.

The original brewery in Qingdao is now a museum and visitors are offered freshly brewed beer at the end of their tour.  Since 1991, the brewery has organized the annual Qingdao International Beer Festival. Foreign friends are plied with free booze by the Chinese, if they are lucky enough to stumble into Qingdao during the summer months when the festival is held.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder." ~ Kinky Friedman 

July 19, 2011

ARNABites: My First Pizza

I usually write about my passions such as travel, work, and ARNABabes. Cooking is a lesser passion which I rarely dabble in, much less mention. When living in exotic places where the food is delicious and affordable, I find no need to cook. Only when I am back in Vancouver do I occasionally add to my culinary arsenal. Since I never use prior recipes or write down what I did while cooking, I must piece together the different ingredients contained in my edible enigma using my memories and photographs later on. It is with great pleasure I reveal the first of my ARNABites recipes. The venerable pizza is one of my all time favourites.

  • McCain International Thin Crust Parisian Pizza

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Place pizza inside the oven for 15-18 minutes
  3. Take pizza out of oven 
  4. Subdivide into equally sized slices
  5. Enjoy!


“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six.” ~ Yogi Berra  

July 09, 2011


Chuanr is Chinese for kebab or skewer. Originating from the Muslim region of Xinjiang, it soon spread to street side vendors throughout the nation. You know that you are pronouncing it correctly if it sounds the same as the noise your stomach makes immediately after your eyes have spotted a chuanr vendor. A variety of delicious meat is normally attached to the sticks, but potatoes, lotus roots, bread, or anything else imaginable can also be skewered in a positive manner. Priced at only a few RMB each, the sticks can make for an affordable snack or a full course meal depending on the quantity consumed.

Some of my best memories of China involve chuanrs - from my first independently purchased meal in the country, to the times spent eating and drinking at local joints, to insect tasting at Wangfujing. Once a friend and I consumed 120 meat sticks at a single sitting, leaving behind only a few chunks of fat, onions, and astonished looks. On another occasion I was strolling the streets with an American-born Chinese, chuanrs in hand. After finishing each stick, he casually tossed it on to the pavement. I arched an ARNABrow at him, intrigued by his penchant for littering. "Just keeping the peeps employed" he wisecracked.

May 18, 2011

A Time For Change

After two years at Interone, I decided to ride off into the sunset and return to Vancouver. Before I left Beijing, I cleaned my room for the first time. In China, retailers and other persons involved in commercial activities never seem to have any change for the 100 RMB notes that are dispersed by the ATM's. Any occasion to break up a large bill into smaller notes and coins must be seized. This solves the problem of not having any change, but the issue of having too much soon rises as I stockpile smaller denominations. A continuous struggle exists to maintain an equilibrium between an empty pocket and a healthy collection of loose change to meet the daily needs of an individual.

When I returned home at night, I would empty my pockets of any remaining currency. The bills would float gracefully to the floor, awaiting the tender touch of my fingertips the next morning. Before leaving for work, I would pick out the crispest of the notes and stuff them into my pocket for a new day. Over the years, a surplus of small change congregated on my apartment room floor. I collected all the money I could find into a plastic bag. I used this lump sum to pay for my farewell lunch for around 20 colleagues. The waiter gave up on counting the cash, so my coworkers divied up the bills and did the accounting work for him. Once the bill was paid, I still had a lot left over.


"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." - Barack Obama

February 26, 2011

Little Sheep and Big Bad Wolf

To commemorate my two year anniversary in China, I went to the Little Sheep hotpot restaurant in Guomao with my colleagues. Our cute server had caught the eye of my coworkers, and they peer pressured me into talking to her.

Coworker #1: You should talk to the waitress!
Me: No, I don't think she can speak English.
Coworker #2: Find out.
Me: But you know what will happen if I speak to her in English. First the left cheek will turn red, and then the right cheek will turn red.
Coworker #3: I know.
Me: I meant my cheeks.
Coworker #3: I know.
Me: Maybe I can ask her for napkins? I need some.
Coworker #2: Too complicated.
Me: Square paper for wipe face.
Coworker #2: Ask her for toilet paper.
Coworker #3: No, ask her where the toilet is!
Coworker #2: That is good idea.
Coworker #1: Go! Go!

I approached the waitress and asked her for the toilet, bathroom, washroom, and WC without success. I pointed to the sign for the toilet. She finally understood and guided me to the bathroom. I returned to the table where my coworkers were sitting and told them what had transpired.

Coworker #2: If the sign already point to toilet, why you ask her then? You are idiot!

February 23, 2011

Wedding Fail

I asked a colleague if he had been to a particular Chinese restaurant that I wished to visit.

Coworker: Yes, I have been there for a failed wedding meal.
Me: Why was it a failure? Not enough food? Not enough beer?
Coworker: The meal was excellent, the marriage failed.

February 03, 2011

Cat Got Your Tongue?

Korean guy: I am going to a cat buffet now.
Me: I have never been to a cat buffet before! 
Korean guy: I can show you where it is if you want.
Me: OK, I'd like to check it out. How much does it cost?
Korean guy: Not too expensive.
Me: Cool. 
Korean guy: Yes, you can even bring your own cat.

We walk over to the entrance of the cat buffet. There are pictures of several of the cute critters on a billboard outside, with images of various dishes below.

Me: Hmm, here it says 'Cat Cafe' only. Are you sure it's all you can eat?
Korean guy: What do you mean?
Me: Are you sure it's all you can eat cat meat? You said it's a cat buffet...
Korean guy: What?? No! I said cat cafe, not cat buffet! It's a place where you can bring your cat and hang out and have coffee and some snacks.
Me: Oh...

August 08, 2010

Once Upon a Restaurant in China

I spot a restaurant in China that looks like it serves tasty food and take a seat inside. After being offered someone else's bill, a look of bafflement, and a pack of cigarettes, I finally receive a menu. A piece of paper with Chinese writing and a sauce stain is provided to me. The waiter stares at me with piercing eyes, darting impatiently from side to side. 60% of the dishes on the menu are not available. "Don't have, don't have." drones the waiter, distaste dripping from his mouth at my ignorance of the state of the current food inventory at his place of work. I look at what the other customers are eating and point at the items I want, the waiter's blank stare not revealing whether I have made myself understood.

I order a starter, one meat dish, and a bowl of rice. It is hot outside so I cannot ask for a glass of water, as that only comes in the piping hot variety and I need something cool and refreshing. I am brought a room temperature bottle of beer. It is left unopened and I am not given a glass. Soon my main course arrives, followed 45 minutes later by the appetizer, and 5 minutes later by my bowl of rice. I try to explain that I need a plate or bowl to eat from, and am finally provided with some napkins and a glass. The next attempt brings forth chopsticks, and I begin my meal eating directly from the large dishes.

The ratio of staff to customers is 1:2 but most of the workers are clustered into groups chatting with each other or solitary types who are often found to be staring into space. It is hard to attract the attention of a waiter without yelling at them, but that is not my style. Sometimes there is a glimmer of recognition that I am motioning for them, but after 15 minutes have passed I realize that this is not the case. Eventually, the staff all sit down at a nearby table and start eating their meal. One notices that I am still trying to attract their attention. I ask for the bill and am given the menu. I ask for the bill and am given a toothpick. I ask for the bill and am given another bottle of beer. I ask for the bill and am given the bill. The figures are within a reasonable range of my estimates. Similar to when I ordered food I am under pressure now. The waiter hovers near me, fixing me with another impatient stare as I struggle to provide exact change. I decide to give him a 100 RMB note instead. Still eyeing me suspiciously, the waiter holds up the note and examines it to see if it is counterfeit before walking back to the counter to retrieve my change.


"It is a good thing that life is not as serious as it seems to a waiter." ~ Don Herold