Thursday, April 22, 2010

Which One’s Not Like the Other?

Posted by She Said

There is a Korean BBQ place not too far from our apartment that I have been wanting to try for a while. After Sinny, a coworker of Greg’s, took me to a scrumptious dinner at a different Korean BBQ restaurant several weeks ago, I have been anxious for Greg to try it. I just knew he would enjoy the wonderful flavors and the way there is an actual coal BBQ at each table on which to cook. With his affinity for fire, what’s not to enjoy? I have to admit, I was a little surprised he finally agreed to check it out after he complained of the way I smelled for two days after eating it. I guess he figured it was like garlic – if we both ate it, he wouldn’t be bothered by it.

I’ve noticed at the nicer sit-down restaurants, where you pay at the end of the meal instead of at the beginning, the server will follow you to your table and stay there until you order. So, imagine if you will, we are on a side of town with very few foreigners, so we always seem to create a stir – well the kids do anyway. So this may not be accurate to say, but it feels like when we walked in, all eyes were on us. Next, we have to take off all our coats. Then we have figure out what to do with them. Here? No. How about piled up there? OK.

Shift, shift, shift.

Then we have the arduous task of deciding who is going to sit where and next to whom –a Moyle version of quack, quack, goose.

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.

And all of this is prior to even cracking open the menu. Then we do a quick menu dance, akin to a rain dance, in the hopes that there are English subtitles under the pictures in the one enormous, multi-paged menu delivered to our table that we, we being I,  have to flip through.

Flip, flip, flip.

And all of this happens while our server stands next to us with her pen and pad ready to take our order. Suffice it to say, being the one given the role of ordering, this makes me a little nervous! In my desire to expedite the ordering process, I pointed at watermelon juice for Emily out of a color brochure. Small. This is what we got:

P4190081This is freshly squeezed watermelon juice. And it cost us about 38 RMB (or over $5 US), which I didn’t really realize during my rush to get our order in.

So this is the way it works. They bring over all of the raw ingredients you ordered – thinly sliced meats, mushrooms, and other veggies – and give you all of the tools you need to cook it over the coals, including tongs for flipping and scissors for cutting larger pieces into more manageable bite sizes.  That’s right. You do the cooking.

That is, unless you are the Moyles.


Greg was busy figuring out how to wear Emily’s Barbie headband from KFC, so he’s not cooking. I’m taking the picture, so I’m not cooking. And there’s no way the kids were getting their little hands near those hot coals, so they’re not cooking.

Instead, we had our own personal chef.


This friendly woman stood at our table for our entire meal and cooked every morsel we purchased. Greg kept looking around and continually asked me why other people were cooking their own food? I kept insisting the staff was helping them too.

Because of her help, Greg had time to figure out Em’s hair band. And who wouldn’t be grateful for that?


As our last bites were taken, and our coals whisked away, another plate arrived with four watermelon slices and four ice cream bars. Braedyn ate a couple bites of the watermelon, and we all devoured our delicious coconut flavored ice cream bars. We didn’t order any dessert, but we sure enjoyed the treat!

By the end of the meal, our watermelon juice was hardly touched. The kids, insisting they liked it, wouldn’t drink it. I started filling all of our small glasses and making us all drink more so as to not seem so wasteful. Damn wasteful Americans! We still only got through about half of it.

So, I have a confession. This is a first for me, so please pay attention, and for my sake, please do not repeat this:

Greg. Was. Right. Iwaswrong.

I know, the horror, right!?

I was led to this realization when my friend, Lilian, and I went back to the same restaurant last night for dinner, and lo and behold, not one small slice of savory mutton, not one piece of thinly sliced sweet potato, not one medallion of savory pork, was cooked by anyone other than Lilian or me.


Oh, and there was no watermelon and ice cream bars delivered either.

I did mention this was the SAME restaurant, yes?

When I told Lilian that we had everything, everything, cooked for us earlier in the week, she just looked at me, laughed, and said, “You must look like you don’t know how to cook!”


  1. I'm really glad that you got a shot of Greg in the headband. I bet they just realized that you had your hands full?

  2. I'm guessing you have your children to thank for such wonderful service. I mean you are treated like celebrities all the time right?

    That or there is a Chinese actor who looks just like Greg. LOL