Friday, December 02, 2005

Spadina Street Tales

Eating at a Chinese restaurant can be a unique experience. I don't mean the proper, fancy, Chinese restaurants that you would take your wife or girlfriend to, and order the Peking Duck On Mandarin Flying Noodle with side of General Watzisname's Shrimp or something like that. I mean the restaurants near my work place. I work near Spadina street, downtown Toronto. Otherwise known as Chinatown. There are dozens of these small restaurants that dot the street, offer cheap and quick food for lunch and always seems packed.

You order a dish, and pray to God it's WYGIWYO - What You Get Is What You Ordered. And if you go as a group, a good game you can play is 'Who Gets Served Last'. And since I always have to be the only one from my work colleagues to order the non-meat seafood/veggie dish, I usually get my food last win.

Today, we all decided to go to J's, a place on Spadina. It's not really called J's, but the real name is a big Chinese one beginning with the letter J, so most people in my office call it J's. We were lucky to get a table - it's packed. There are two regular waiters in that place. One is fast and efficient, and the other apparently believes slow and steady wins the race. He came to take our order. Everyone placed their order - bowl of pork and rice multiplied three times, and then I placed mine - "Vegetable Shanghai Chow Mein".

THREE minutes later, as the guys are still waiting for their free soup, the waiter brought my dish. It was steaming from the oven, with scrumptious vegetables and freshly cooked shrimp pieces dotting the noodles, and lots of it. I have never gotten my food this fast. As the others looked on in amazement, I dug in. Oh boy did it taste great!

As I went through my lunch, my colleagues waited, and waited. They waved to the waiter, made faces, pointed to their wrists, made small talk on the elections, and generally tried to avoid giving nazaar (evil eye) to my food. Finally, as I was nearly done, their dishes arrived.

For some reason, I was feeling triumphant (it was Friday after all), so I told the guys I would head back to work early, as I was done. I got up and walked to the cashier, ready to pay. Through the corner of my eye, I saw the slow waiter drying his hands and approach the cash.

As the waiter passed one gentleman seated at a table, the customer grabbed him, and thundered, "I am waiting here for 30 minutes! Where Is My VEGETABLE SHANGHAI CHOW MEIN?!!!"


See also: Gerrard Street Tales


Aisha said...

LOL. that's funny. Oh well... a case of ignorance is bliss :)

Anonymous said...

Hahaha... Slow and Steady did win him something... I am trying to create a sketch of what must have been the graphical image of the waiter.. hehe.. lil chinese dude, eyes closed and saying TAULEY (for sorry)

- Behbood