Sunday, November 28, 2004

A Chinese custom, but not for the faint-hearted.

We all went out for Yum Char today, and towards the end of the meal one of my aunts started getting all fidgety. Before I could see it coming, she scrambled out of her chair to retrieve that piece of paper that all the waitresses put marks on - the one which is used to calculate the bill.

It was obvious there was going to be a fight over who got to pay the bill - there always is when Chinese take their friends or rellies out for a meal.

My aunt held that bit of paper tightly in her fist, and whenever I tried to take it away, the surprisingly agile seventy-something woman flicked it just out of my reach. My brother had an idea though, and this was one of those times when we were glad not everyone at the table could speak good English...

Despite that fact that we'd all stopped eating and there were plenty of leftovers, my brother announced that he wanted to get another plate of spring rolls - for his son at home, he said. We had to wait a long time for them to arrive, and in the meantime I kept trying to get my mitts on that piece of paper - unsuccessfully.

Then, the spring rolls arrived. My brother whispered in the waitress's ear that my aunt had the paper for her to mark - could she please hand it to him when she got the chance? My aunt caught on pretty quickly, but she was powerless to counter the attack. She had no choice but to give the waitress the paper, and my brother almost ripped it out of her hand in his haste. In the ensuing hilarity, somehow my mother got the credit for the ruse.


darth said...

is yum char the same thing as dim sum??? we just went out for dim sum this morning! i could have it every week, i swear.

Violet said...

It sure is. "yum char" translates literally to "drink tea" - which you have to do if you're going to stuff yourself with greasy dim sums. We use "dim sum" to refer to the actual food items.