If you've never been to a place where nobody speaks English (or whatever language you speak) and ordered for you probably won't relate very well to this post. But today Cheryl and I ventured out into uncharted waters with my minimal experience ("just enough to be dangerous") with Dim Sum.
The place we went was absolutely packed, so you know it had to be good. As we stroll in we don't hear a word of any language we can distinguish, and the menu (which was a yellow piece of butcher paper on the wall) was written in some Oriental language as well. Avoiding the riot for the first table, apparently a group of six had been waiting for a while, we got a table right away. Maybe the fact that the restaurant wasn't the cleanest place in the world, or that the host didn't say much, or that the place looked like was a cafe from 1970 and hadn't been redecorated since wasn't enough to tip my wife off that she wasn't going to like the food, but the fish tank with green water, a really ugly carp and several dead clown fish certainly did the job.
Immediately upon sitting down the waitress shows up with a tray of food and yells something that I don't understand. Time to resort to tourist food tactic #1 - what I like to call the "Point and Grunt" method. Okay so the first item we had appeared to be some sort of pork with a really slimy noodle wrapped around it. Maybe tactic #1 is failing me, go for tactic #2 "avoid the moving things" method. Okay so it is less of a tactic and more of a hard fast rule but I guess the real guidance was "Go for the thing that looked the most normal" which happened to be some tasty mushrooms and barbecued pork. Okay that satisfied Cheryl well enough now time to make tourist food mistake #2, try something exotic (#1 was going to a place where no one knows the language spoken). Our something exotic happened to be dumplings with seafood in them which led us to retreat to tactic #3 "Always know where there is something you might really like to eat nearby". Seeing how the bill was in a foreign language I have a feeling I committed mistake #3 "Not being able to compare the price on the bill with the price on the menu."
Well it looks like funky "recommended" dim sum place won this round. But nevermind that if I overcame the fear of sushi and ghetto vegan food, I am certain I will be able to conquer more strange food adventures. But for now dim sum is off the menu.