Korean food for Lunch
I ordered vegetarian pot-stickers and a bowl of spicy egg-soup— hold the rice, noodles and tofu.
The ordering process went smooth and although there was a slight eye-brow raise over my ‘hold this and hold that’ request, everything seemed to be normal.
Several minutes after my soup was delivered I experienced a visit from the owner of the restaurant.
The owner was an amalgam of a hipster, a James Bond villain and a Sunset Boulevard pimp who is pleasantly nearing retirement. I can tell you with the utmost sincerity that I was warmed by this surprise encounter and became quite jazzed when he — for reasons I was completely oblivious to — sat across from me at my table for two.
He asked, “is your soup ok?”
I, while in admiration of his amazing hair, replied, “The soup is great, thank you!”
“You know the rice is part of the dish, it goes together as a meal— that is how we designed it,” he persisted, “it is a very soup, you know.”
I sat and wondered if it would be rude if I snapped a photo of his amazing glasses to see if I can find a pair on ebay and then I digressed into a deep thought and I realized I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. Every dish on the menu contains a side order of rice, does that mean at some point in time all the meals were tested in some culinary lab and it was tested and confirmed that rice happens to go with EVERY single thing on the menu and is hence a necessary condition for the completion of the meal?
Is the integrity of enchilada destroyed if I hold the beans and rice?
Is the design of pasta ruined if I decline bread?
Have I been mocking the culinary efforts put into these magical side dish?
I responded, “the rice in the rice paper of my pot-stickers was an adequate amount of ‘rice’ for me today. But, nonetheless, I appreciate your concern.”
“The soup is not too spicy. . .without the rice?”
“Oh no! In fact, its a bit mild — any way I can add more spice to it?”
“It is not possible to add anymore spice, because the dish has been created with the perfect amount of spice to maintain a balance of all the flavors. And you have already altered that balance by removing the rice.”
I respond with awkward silence.
He continues, “However, if you tell me in advance that you want it spicier I can do that”
Removing rice from the dish ruins the integrity— but if I ask, he will do it.
Adding more spice ruins the integrity of the dish— but if I ask, he will do it.
In other words, he does not trust my capacity to add hot sauce to a meal or manage my rice consumption?
He left me with these thoughts and checked up on me 5 more times.
And he was right, the soup was too spicy.
I left a 30% tip and a smiley face.
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