Monday, July 30, 2007

Hamming it up

Phil and I went to a nice cafe last weekend, that we had been to once or twice before. It is situated in a renovated old Lane House, and judging by the prices, the western menu and the English-speaking waiters it is clearly catering to the ex-pat crowd. For the sake of anonymity I will thinly veil the identity of the place by calling it Roquette.

Upon perusing the menu I decided that the vegetarian choices were a little slim, and so instead I'd get the Chef's Omlette, which comes with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, gruyere cheese and ham- but omit the ham.

Waiter:"And what would you like madam?"

Me: "I'll have the chef's omlette, but without the ham please."

Waiter: "Sure, one chef's omlette, no ham."

As he bustled away I started to think that that was too easy for Shanghai, but decided to not be so negative, and trust in the very efficient waiter's skills. But I was eager to see what would happen.

Waiter: "Here madam- one Chef's Omlette, no ham."

I poked at the pink things in the omlette and wondered if they were just bits of tomato, but sure enough they were ham.

Me: "Excuse me, this has ham in it."

Waiter: "Really?"

Phil tastes the meat for me

Phil: "Yes it's ham."

Waiter: "Sure I'll change it."
Normally at this point the waiters try to argue with me about the meat. There is just so little understanding of vegetarianism here that they can't comprehend that I would want the food entirely without meat. This is the point where they start saying, "oh, but it's chopped very small", or "but it is no good without at least a little sausage". However I was pleasantly surprised that the waiter accepted our explaination and took the plate away without argument.

Moments later he put the same plate down in front of me.

Waiter: "Excuse me madam, I talked to the chef, and he says that this is NOT ham... it's bacon."
After several moments of me opening and closing my mouth like a suffocating fish I finally spluttered:

Me: "But Bacon is Ham! I mean, it's all pig!"

Waiter: "Oh so you don't want bacon either?"


Comic Mummy said...

Hehe, this sounds just like dinner at my Dad's place. I was vego for 7+ years yet EVERY time I went round there, they managed to cook me a meal with ham/bacon/whatever meat they could muscle up.

"Oh, you can just eat around it."

I'm sure they'd have a mighty fine business opening a B&B in Shanghai.

Louise said...

Hehehe yeah they'd fit right in for sure!

You know, I say this is bad in China but it is pretty hard to get a veg meal in oz at times once you leave the safe confines of major metropolitan areas. Oh well, c'est la vie.... or c'est la veal?

HowToMe said...

Lol! wow!