Getting My Eat On

More things to know!

8. Restaurant etiquette. You know the Western idea of a restaurant, yes? You are greeted by someone who says “Hello, how are you all?” or something to that effect. Then sometimes they may even tell you they like your clothes or something. It’s all about the presentation and we pay by the service.

In China, a waiter or waitress (generally waitress) comes to the table. She may say something like “Want any water?” and that may be it. Chinese people point to the food they want and will say “zhei ge” which means “this one” or “nei ge” which means that one, instead of talking or saying the food name. They’ll say “na ge” or “zhe ge” if they are formal… and as a plus it sounds a little less like the English “n” word.

On top of that, they may say “kuai diar (dian)” which means “faster!” This happens a lot. “Go faster I’m in a hurry!” and phrases like that. Also, you don’t order for yourself. The dishes come to the table and everyone shares. I really like that about the restaurants- you never get just one thing!

Huoguo or HotPot is delicious. Lishy had me try it stateside, but it really wasn’t quite as delicious as it is in Handan. There’s a boiling pot of soup in the center of the table, spicy or not spicy, where you put anything. Meat, vegetables, tofu, you name it. Once it’s cooked, you fish it out and put it in your delicious bowl of sesame sauce.

There are many people with portable cooking stands, that generally make you a mushu pancake or some dericious quick meal. You can say “Wo yao liang ge.” which means “I want two.” It’s still not correct Chinese, but they’ll understand and ask if you want meat or vegetables to which I say “Bu yao” “DO NOT WANT.” I’m sure there’s the possibility you can get food poisoning from these things, but hey, live a little, and stop being so Western.

Pancake McGhee

Pancake McGhee

Anyway, about my life recently in the motherland.

I’ve been teaching a small class of Spanish over here to fellow teachers and my Chinese boss’s daughter. I really enjoy teaching and I do that at my leisure. There’s something to be said about going the extra mile to enrich the lives of those around you. I think it’s a duty to my fellow man to do this work, especially if I’m getting paid more for less work.

The Chinese teachers here aren’t paid as much as the foreign teachers, not even close. While I understand the reason for this and understand the fairness of it (on some levels) I still believe that a foreigner should work just as hard. The Chinese teachers sign a contract to be at school every day for a much longer shift than any foreigner. I could consider this job a part-time job for the assigned hours given to me. Yet I choose to stay with the Chinese teachers, even if I’m just sitting around or teaching them extra English phrases. They think I’m really strange in general, but I think they appreciate the extra company.

I’m still conscientious of what it is to work the extra mile, what with essentially growing up at a grocery store and having my dad and mom make us help around the house or in the yard. I think some of my cousins are the same way- it’s how we learned to be raised. It taught me many things about working hard, and to this day I often find myself working more than my peers, which is perfectly fine with me.


About Jonny Blevins

Be proud of who you are, wherever you are. I'm sure other dimensions and worlds exist. Trying to be photogenic is gross. Weak stomachs are weird. I talk about my hypothetical Chow Chow, Fa Mulan, regularly. Handan, China is like West Virginia with more Chinese people. Pittsburgh is alright. I'm there now.
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2 Responses to Getting My Eat On

  1. rachelmolenda says:

    More food posts, Jonny! I loooove them. It sounds like you’re doing a great job so far–I am excited that you’re choosing to take advantage of the extra hours your Chinese colleagues put in. Maybe we can skype before I leave for Tanzania!

  2. Julie says:

    You are going to miss those hot pots….served “family stye”. 🙂

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