Phil took me out to a fancy Chinese food restaurant last night. I don't want to name the place because I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate being overrun by gweilos, but what I can tell you is that the food was fantastic!
They have one menu for the American clientele, and another somewhat secret and more authentic menu which they only offer to their Asian customers, and to those who are "in the know". Phil asked to see a copy of the authentic menu. I was wary at first, but I must say that the experience has really opened my eyes to foreign cuisine!
Since this meal was all about trying new things, we decided to order a variety of items to share. We started out with semi-boneless vegetarian egg rolls, along with a small bowl of their homemade lambskin condom soup. Both were tasty and unusual, but I'm not sure if I'd order them again.
For our next course we decided on some truly exotic dishes. Phil went for the dandruff teriyaki, and an appetizer-sized order of the thrift store underwear dumplings. I decided on the prawns & zygote delight, which is served on a bed of restroom scrapings lo mein. The dumplings were plump and juicy. The dish I chose was decent, but a little hard to describe. I really couldn't tell the prawns from the zygotes.
The waiter recognized that we were clients of distinction. He talked us into trying one of the house specialties, the hot & spicy tripe wrapped cow eyes. It was served in a decadent pool of oyster sauce. I must say, the texture of this dish was like nothing I've ever eaten!
Temporarily satisfied, we took a break to talk, and to try one of their Bacardi 151 based fruit cocktails. I just ordered by pointing at the picture on the menu. I think they said it was called a "Say Bok Gwai". We also shared a flaming volcano, which we ordered "dirty". That bartender sure wasn't stingy with the clam juice! Yum!
Well before long we were hungry again, so we decided to pick at a couple more dishes. Phil said that the experience would be incomplete without trying such traditional fare as the fried Thai-boy feet with baby corn, or the electrocuted squirrel with garlic sauce. We requested both, along with a few of their sumptuous crispy duck heads. These three dishes were my favorites of the night!
To wrap this up, I'll simply say that cheap Americanized Chinese food is good,(even though they always ruin perfectly good fried rice with those nasty frozen peas and diced carrots). But authentic Chinese food is truly a feast for the senses! So the next time you crave Chinese, go ahead and treat yourself, try something new, and ask for the "real" menu. You'll be glad you did!