Friday’s Essay – Writing About A Chinese Restaurant

Chinese Food SignA few weeks ago I decided to go to a tiny restaurant that I’ve never been to.  I’ve been past it many times, but I have never been inside.  So, I decided to head there one day after work, eat some food and do some writing.  This is what I wrote:

Sitting in a restaurant I imagine fits the description of all ‘Chinese Restaurants’ that graced the main streets of small towns in Saskatchewan.  Plastic cloths on less than a dozen tables.  Faded Christmas decorations adorn the support beams and door jamb.  The walls are a yellow that, for some reason, reminds me of a grandma’s summer kitchen from the forties.  The menu is slightly unfamiliar – wonton soup along side pork and melon fried rice.  The chairs look as though they were rescued from an older, dirtier Chinese restaurant – metal frames with faded red plastic seats and backs.  My server is in the kitchen chatting with the cook.  I don’t know what they’re saying since I don’t understand any Chinese dialects.  They sound angry – I’m sure they’re not.  German sounds like that to me, too.  Clipped and curt and a little angry.  I read my book and drink ice water from a big plastic cup.  I’m sure there are more germs in a plastic cup than a glass one.  But I have yet to be poisoned in a restaurant, so I don’t worry about it.  The soup I ordered arrives in a big bowl with a ladle and the server gives me a smaller bowl and one of those wide, shallow spoons that you can only find in Asian restaurants and markets. It’s good – the broth is refreshing, not salty.  The meatballs are extremely tasty.  The noodles are invisible.  They’re so thin and clear, they surprise me when I pull them out on the ladle.  I spend, maybe, forty-five minutes eating and reading and not worrying about the cleanliness of the kitchen.  It’s one of those places I like – homey and little rough around the edges – the food was good, plentiful and cheap.  I’ll probably go back again.

I just might use that Chinese restaurant in something