Honestly, I SPEAK Chinese.
I really do!
I’m Chinese – born and raised in Canada. My family is from a village in Southern China and we speak a variation of Cantonese.
I speak Chinese or at least my family, and I think I speak Chinese. But, put me in a Chinese restaurant and I might as well be speaking Klingon.
I could be asking for the most basic of things – say, a glass of water or a napkin or directions to the restroom – and I get THE LOOK… A kind of Spock-like look with one eyebrow raised — a pondering look, a tilt of the head and a long pause. I don’t know if it’s my “Canadian” accent or my dazzling good looks (wink) that confuses them but waiters just stare.
When dining with my husband, who incidentally is also Chinese-born and raised in Canada, he always tries to rescue me by “translating”. Meaning that he repeats what I said exactly word-for-word. This act makes me feel even more incompetent because they always instantly answer or nod affirming they understand and return with said item – no questions asked and no pondering look.
Dinner with my mother-in-law (Photo above) is a very different affair altogether. I don’t have to say a word to a single waiter as she takes control of everything and I pay the bill. Even though this meal was in celebration of Mother’s Day – she, of course, loves me and orders my favourites without fail! I happily sit, smile and EAT!
Tonight’s meal was at a very busy, family-run Chinese restaurant. Old school with no glitz or glamour but just good, reasonably priced food.
3833 Midland Avenue, Scarborough ON
Steamed Chicken with Ginger and Green Onion sauce. The chicken is tender but really it’s the ginger and green onion mixture that really sets this dish off.
Pork Chops in Chefs Special Sauce with Onions. The “chef’s special sauce” is a sweet tomato-based sauce.
Beef and Chinese Broccoli. Tender marinated beef stir-fried with ginger and garlic with crisp “gai-lan” and oyster sauce.
Hot Pot Chicken. I have no idea how they cook this dish but it’s the best, there are tonnes of whole garlic cloves, onions and Chinese “Lap Cheong” sausage. This hot pot dish takes the longest to make and is the first to go. There are never leftovers! My favourite part of this dish is the tender little pieces of garlic.