Friday, November 20, 2009

That Vegetarian Dinner

I’ve always loved weddings. Not because it’s a union of souls and a celebration of love – sometimes for convenience or shot-gun marriages-, but largely because I love cold dishes and shark’s fin and rarely do I leave any wedding thinking of Big Mac and fries.

This last wedding was a little different.

It was between one of my old friend and his girlfriend whom he had been dating for so long, that I believe they were together when Valentine’s Day was created. Naturally, I saw this as a chance to catch up with the boys and also pay for an overpriced dinner.

I’ve never quite gotten the grasp when it comes to how much we really need to give for weddings. Do we give less on weekdays? What is the lowest we can give? Can we take-away unfinished food? Am I allowed to keep the napkins? What do we use as yardsticks? Do people really give empty packets? Do you think we can get through dinner with no one finding out?

There were just so many things drifting through my mind like a kaleidoscopic opera of debates between figures that I decided to stick with $100, for a 4 Star hotel on a Wednesday. I figured it was a fairly decent amount given that mid week banquets are like store wide discounts.

When I got to the table – almost fashionably late because it took me a whole to decide that wine and beer are too much of a staple banquet diet for me to pass up-, I immediately did a quick check with the others on how much they gave.

Me: “How much did you guys give?”
R: “$70
Me: “What?!”
H: “I also gave $70. Weekday dinners are about there.”
Me: “Fuck! I gave a hundred.”
A: “You know it’s vegetarian food right?”

I snatched the menu and scanned through it, looking for erection giving words like ‘shark’s fin’, ‘abalone’ or ‘garoupa ‘, but the only thing that barely teased was the word ‘mock’ planted right before ‘shark’s fin’ and followed by stupid words like ‘bamboo shoots’.

Half the time I had no idea what the menu was saying because if you’ve been to enough weddings, you’d know that they have the coolest names for the simplest food. Things like, ‘double broiled ginko nuts..’, which really is just ‘Cheng Teng’ and ‘Longevity Catch’ which is basically your fish.

Then before me was a whole list of gimmicky names that told me nothing about the food, like ‘Treasure Bag with broccoli’ and there I was hoping there was going to be a slice of chicken in that bag somewhere. There was nothing I could do about it, so I turned to the only thing that would make this worthwhile.

Me: “I’m going to get my money’s worth on wine.”
R: “You know there was supposed to be no alcohol?
Me: “I would have slit my wrist if that happened, but I’m glad to be alive and thrilled to drink cheap house wine.”

The other down side was my grumpy waitress, who looked like she just menopaused on her train ride to work. She never smiled, never asked anything courteously and her face was always so constipated that she only needed to be purple to qualify as a prune, but I didn’t give a shit because she executed the one task I gave her perfectly.

Me: “Keep this glass always filled.”

You know you’re fucked when tomato slices which are normally decorative or garnishes, become the main dish. The first dish, usually one of my favourites, had been raped. In place of the jelly fish, was kway tiao and I’m assuming the tomatoes represented the squid. Disappointed, I start drinking faster.

Then it just went downhill. Shark’s fins were glass noodles cooked in what I can only assume to be starch with some bamboo shoot that pandas might have enjoyed. The ‘treasure bag’ was stuffed toufu skin with more vegetables and the fried rice looked like it was fried with the same ingredients they’ve been using all night.

I have to verify that I’m not a particular person when it comes to eating, because I eat almost anything – sometimes not knowing what I’m eating. So, when I bitch about food, you’ll know that it’s so bad, if I had brought combat rations, I would be chewing up on it in the toilet.

Me: “Well, at least the dessert should be good right? They can’t possibly fuck up dessert because it’s vegetarian to begin with.”

When they served the bowl of red bean paste, I was secretly hoping they served it with a razor to slit my throat with. It was so diluted, you'd think they were trying to feed everyone with a single bean mixed in sugar water.

I’ve never quite understood why anyone would propose for a vegetarian dinner. Do they not realize that vast majority of Singaporeans are carnivores and for a good reason, because meat just fucking taste better!

I know people say vegetarian food is usually more expensive, but not the one I had. I don’t see how yam and mushrooms can be expensive, because in general rule, food is only expensive when something is killed.

Look, I’ll be very blunt, if I pay money, I’m expecting at least a decent meal with meat, and not having to feel like I’m on a constipation rehab with my dosage of vegetables. If you are vegetarian, then just punish yourself, or your family’s table, and not everyone else. Give us meat.

Big Mac anyone?


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