John Curtas is …

You No Like

Our waitron approached the table with eyes wide, a thin smile and a vague sense of fear about in her face. “This real Chinese food,” was her opening line, delivered with a nodding head that said, “You no like, you leave now.”

“No, no, no,” we protested, “We don’t like gwailo Chinese food; we love Hunan food!” (The following was delivered in dulcet tones to assure her that ELV and the Food Gal® were no “ghost men” or “foreign devils,” but rather, a couple of fellow travelers who appreciated the real thing.

She grinned the grin of the unconvinced and left the menus.

When she returned to take our order, we had no sooner pointed to the Fish in Chile Sauce, when she again came forth with that thin, fearful smile and then again blurted out, “This Chinese food, you like?” (Translation: You won’t like this food and will not want to pay for it.)

“Yes, yes, we love spicy food!” was our hearty reply (going even so far as to pat our stomach and heart to indicate how much we craved the real thing).

We then pointed and she scribbled our order for fish in chile sauce, cold cucumbers with garlic, and smoked bean curd with eggplant. As she turned, she gave a slight shaking of the head as she walked to the kitchen.

Seeing this, our hearts sank. With good reason.

The cukes showed up and were standard issue. The fish looked like it was supposed to, but wasn’t spicy enough to offend Aunt Edna — bland, boiled tilapia sitting in chicken stock under a slick of chile oil with no guts to it.

No guts, no spark, no spice? In a Hunan restaurant? Unthinkable we thought, but there it was.

Then came the bean curd….er…uh excuse us…the green beans with eggplant.

ELV was dumbfounded, and summoned the waitron over, still smiling, still trying to convince her that he wanted the real deal. She approached with a look that said she thought we were going to either storm out or throw the food in her face. With menu in hand we cheerfully pointed to the menu item that read “smoked bean curd with eggplant.”

“These are not tofu; isn’t this dish supposed to be tofu with eggplant? Tofu is bean curd, right”

“No, no, these beans…like menu says,” was the defense, as tepid as the fish dish.

Language barriers aside, the beans wouldn’t have passed muster at a Panda Express. We were clearly defeated and paid the $36 bill without complaint.

So, what is one to make of such a meal?

Clearly, Hunan Jiu Jia (which is in the space previously occupied by Dong Ting Spring*) considers itself to be cooking the authentic food of Hunan. Just as clearly, it doesn’t think any round eyes will like it. So, unless you speak Mandarin, you’re going to get something thrown at you that they think you will pay for, because it’s nothing like the food they’re really cooking here. Got that?

In other words, our waitron was right, when she was really wrong, which would’ve been alright with us.

HUNAN JIU JIA

3944-3950 Schiff Drive

Las Vegas, NV 89103

702.437.7888

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

* Which ELV  liked** precisely because they served real Hunan food to white people without warning or fear.

** Our ardor for DTS cooled the night we saw and heard the chef hawking and spitting*** in the kitchen…from the dining room.

*** Ah, the Chinese.

Share this post:

9 Responses to You No Like

  • I enjoyed Dong Ting Spring when we went there. Too bad it’s just a spicy memory today.

  • If this wasn’t literally right next door to Yunnan Garden, it’d be a real bummer. Yunnan was packed last night, and despite being the only table of gwailos in the joint, I assure you, we got the full chili treatment. Granted, I’ve been at least a few dozen times, and it seems like they almost recognize me. While service will never be what anyone would describe as “inviting”, at least they stopped chucking a handful of forks at me.

  • Unfortunatley, I’ve encountered similar issues at Yunnan Garden. Not with the spice factor but with the language barrier. I really like the food but after twice ordering take out (I always order by number and name of dish) and having the order botched, my wife has forbidden us from ordering there again.

  • Isn’t it awesome how there is a language barrier in our home country. I eat at Yunnan garden regularly and after dozens of times trying to ask what the specials are on the wall and being stared at blankly, I gave up. Generally, I walk through the dining rom and if I see something I want to try, I bring the waitress and point at it on the other table.

  • No treatie, round eyes customer no goody, we no goiee there no more! We no like treat like foreigner in USA….so sorry charlie…ping pang long gone!

  • The dismissive attitude by the staff only reinforced their own stereotype. You didn’t enjoy yourself, told others, and won’t go back. In their minds, you’re the one who didn’t get them. It too common in Chinatown districts when they try to hold your hand so much that you couldn’t relax and enjoy the best preparation. To serve blatantly dumbed down food because of what you look like is racism at its height.

  • Art Swanson, yes the food and service is more than subpar, but no need to make fun of a Chinese Accent and use poor taste in jokes with “ping pang long gone.” Not funny.

  • I AM SO SICK OF THESE CHINKS BEING SO RACIST. They get mad at roundeyes for liking their food and trying to give them our money. Also they automatically give me a fork. Imagine the outrage if every asian who came into a burger restaurant were given chopsticks as soon as they walked in..

  • Lotus of Siam always has forks on their table and you have to ask for chopsticks. No one complains about that, but I do understand your point. btw, I would love to see someone eat a burger with chopsticks, that should be a competition ! I do however tend to agree with some of the above comments. in fact, I’ve been in one of the really authentic Chinese restaurants on Spring Mountain and waited 30 min for my table to be approached while multiple new Chinese tables were greeted prior as I watched. Forget, asking for a menu translation on those specials posted on the wall in Chinese too. I get the blank stare when I ask. Just the other day at Yunnan garden I watched an Indian family get served nothing what they ordered and suffered n silence as I chuckled under my breath. I think the only translatable word was Chicken and they received a manifestation of it, just not what they ordered.

Latest Tweets
John at Work Restaurant reviews, quips, picks and pans-with some seriously salivating history-from the man who eats his way through Sin City every day.
Flangas-McMillan
Attorneys at Law
Follow eatinglasvegas on Twitter Follow eatinglasvegas on Twitter