1 + 1 Ain't 2

I walked up to the counter beside all the hanging meats dripping with the fatty aroma of roasted flavour. In the distance, behind the back wall, I could hear the frantic stirfrying and deepfrying of several orders at once.

"I'd like a chicken chowmein [雞絲炒麵]."

The crabby lady looked at me like I was ordering a pizza at Burger King.
"We don't have that."
"You don't have chicken chowmein?"
"No. See? It's not on the menu."

I knew it wasn't on the menu, but I wanted chicken chowmein [雞絲炒麵]. I scanned the menu to see they had chicken on various other menu items, but (as she rightfully pointed out) not on chowmein (fried noodles).

Now, I know a little about cooking, but I guess it was just silly of me to assume that stirfrying chicken and frying noodles could be combined in a way to create "chicken and fried noodles".

Still, I attempted to reason with her instead of following the strict letter of the menu. I tried to break it down for her, into little bitesize brain morsels as I had with the plastic knife incident.
"... but you serve chowmein?"
"We have pork chowmein [肉絲炒麵]."
"So, you have chowmein." It was obvious, but I wanted to hear her say it.
"Yes." She was starting to lose interest in this conversation.
"And you have chicken, right?"

There was a long pause as she stared blankly at me with a that's-a-moronic-question look. A second later, something clicked and she caught on to my point. With an aire of a Noodle Nazi, she cut off the argument.
"We don't have chicken chowmein."

I had a mapo tofu over rice [麻婆豆腐飯].


Momcy said...

Just tell her to replace 肉絲 to 雞絲. Then, she properly will tell you that she is not the cook and is not in her control. Ha Ha!

busygirl said...

That's hilarious. Well this type of experience is not limited to Taiwan, is it?

Just wanted to stop by and check your blog. It's really funny. You left a comment on my blog a loooong time ago. I didn't know you live in taiwan now. I grew up there so can appreciate your experience. I do miss the food there!