Misadventures With Food: Part 1

On my first day living in Shuangliu, I went out on the search for food. I had no groceries or cookware yet and had to find my sustenance elsewhere. I didn’t have to wander very far before I stumbled across a bunch of little noodle shops lined up along the street. I decided on one in particular for the simple reason that the menu they had displayed on the wall had pictures. I cannot read Chinese, and I figured I would be better off ordering something at random if I could at least see what it looked like first.

How mistaken I was.

The waitress came up to take my order, and I pointed at what I thought to be a bowl of beef noodle soup. She said something to me, which in hindsight I assume was a warning of some sort, but I couldn’t understand. So, I shrugged and pointed again at the picture of beef noodle soup. She shrugged in turn, and walked off to give the order to the kitchen. I took a seat close to the entrance.

After only a few minutes of waiting, the waitress returned with my bowl of soup. As she was handing it to me I notice a smirk on her face. I didn’t think much of it until she said something through the smirk. Of course I didn’t understand, but the tone she used made me worry. Like she was sarcastically telling me to enjoy something she knew I wouldn’t. I took my soup and suspiciously watcher her walk back to where the other waitresses where standing. My mind racing through the possibilities of what she could have meant. When I looked down at the soup, I knew my suspicions were right. It was not beef noodle soup, but rather, a bowl of pork intestine soup.

Now, I didn’t want to be rude, and I could hear the waitresses giggling as I looked at my meal to be, so I decided to give it a try. I mean, hey, they are serving it and I’m not the only one here. Why not at least try it? To be honest, it tasted quite good. The broth was nice, and the texture of the meat was a little on the chewy side, but easy to manage. Similar to squid. However, the idea of what it was just kept playing over and over in my mind. I managed to make it about half way through the bowl before admitting defeat.

Despite this misadventure, I continue to order things at random. Sometimes I don’t even look at the pictures. You can call me brave, you can call me foolish. Perhaps I’m just foolishly brave.

Elias Shiber

Misadventures With Food: Part 1