Photo by umami
This weekend, I ate dinner at Nam Viet in Cleveland Park. Nam Viet is not the best Vietnamese restaurant in the area (Eden Center is where it’s at), but it’s pretty good and close to my house. It does brisk business, but I think the authenticity of the food suffers from its clientèle: Cleveland Park is bursting at the seams with white people.
As a general rule, I have found that I get better ethnic food at the restaurants that cater to diners of that ethnic group. However, not all ethnic restaurants have that luxery and the food can get watered down to suit American tastes. Growing up in the Midwest, this was a huge problem. Things are a lot better in DC, to the point where I sometimes forget just how clueless many people still are when it comes to eating Asian food. And so, I give you, the Cleveland Park Rice Incident:
I am waiting to order and can’t help but overhear the woman at the next table. She is a middle-aged white woman dining by herself. She keeps asking the waitress the same question over and over again.
“Can they grill it?”
The waitress shakes her head and explains the preparation of the dish, which does not involve grilling.
The woman is unmoved. “But, can’t they just grill it?”
The waitress shakes her head again. “No, that’s the only way they make it.”
“Okay… well… I don’t eat flour. Can you tell them to go light on the flour?”
The waitress complies, writes down the order, and leaves. I figure this lady is one of those annoying Difficult Diner types that are always trying to change the menu or ask for something special. For some reason, women of a certain age are especially prone to this behavior. If you have a legitimate food allergy, that’s one thing. But if you want your food fixed special just because you refuse to eat it any other way, then you’re just being rude. The restaurant chef is not your personal chef.
A short time later, the woman’s food arrives. It is softshell crab with vegetables and a bowl of rice. The woman flags the waitress down and asks if she can get some butter for her rice. Read the rest of this entry �