Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Thursday, June 22, 2006

Zha Jiang Mian

Instant embarrassment for the dexterity challenged!I had lots more mud on my noodles!Why isn't this red?

I’m sitting at my cluttered desk, just having returned to work from my lunch break. My stomach feels like I swallowed a bowling ball, my skin is tingling, and I think my blood has ceased its perpetual circulation.

I went to the Golden Chopstick for lunch. I’d never been there before, but I was growing tired of pizza. I figured a nice Sesame Chicken would be just the ticket.

When I sat down, I was handed a menu with entrée choices printed upon it in black ink. First in English, then in intricate Chinese calligraphy. Near the bottom, in ballpoint blue ink, an addition was scrawled in sloppy lettering:

Home Made Peking Noodles $7.45

To the right of that, in thick red marker, all in capital letters, was one happy word:


Well, okay, I thought. I might regret this, but I’m adventurous. So I ordered the damn thing. The waitress, a middle-aged Chinese woman, repeated my order back.

"Peking Noodle? You try before?"

"No, never."


Ten minutes later a massive steaming bowl of something was placed before me.

Thick spaghetti-like wheat noodles, dark yellow in color, filled the bowl nearly to the brim. I think there were three pounds of them. Atop the noodles was a massive pile of brown black mud. The mud was made from black bean paste and chopped sauteed onions that stuck out from the sludge like translucent soggy teeth.

I mixed up the sludge with the noodles until I had a bowl of motor oil soaked tapeworms. I started slurping it up. I can’t describe the surprisingly mild taste, which was neither good or bad, just extremely different. After a while, I began adding black pepper, then soy sauce, then cayenne powder.

I managed to order the only dish on the menu that had never undergone any Americanization. No radical metamorphosis had transformed the recipe into something albino America could consume with comfort and recognition. No, this was real Chinese food, the stuff they serve back in Peking. I felt worldly and sophisticated for moment, until I realized I'm a rube. I wondered how my farts would smell tonight. Very mild and deferential, I decided.

The incident reminded me of the time I ordered beef ball soup at The Hong Kong Café and got a broth with scallions and testicles floating in it. I didn’t eat that one.

My blood is moving again. I feel healthy all of the sudden. I’m getting a cheeseburger on the way home tonight. To equalize myself.
2:56 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm


June 23, 2006 11:56 AM, Blogger Anonysis said...

hmm is that nearby us?
Do you suggest I give it a go?

June 26, 2006 2:59 PM, Blogger karen gsteiger said...

Sounds appetizing!

I think I'll stick with the kung pao chicken, though...

June 26, 2006 3:21 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

It's in Barrington Square Plaza at Higgins & Barrington. Don't go there, because I actualy went back today, for something normal. I order the kung pao chicken (not kidding, Karen!) and it was turrible, just turrible.

Stick with Chinese Garden @ Schaumburg and Plum Grove.

June 27, 2006 9:13 PM, Blogger Kerouaced said...

You can't go wrong with General Tsao's Chicken. At only about 3,500 hundred calories a dinner its the meal that keeps on giving...I liked how you kept adding stuff to those noodles. That's what I would do...

June 28, 2006 8:56 AM, Blogger Bobby said...

The secret's out. They'll be serving it at McDonalds by next week.

You ever notice that there are no mass Chinese food chains? There is Taco Bell. There is Chi Chi's. Why not McBejing? Why man why?

Hey - you want to make a billion dollars?

June 29, 2006 6:18 AM, Blogger thejerkstore said...

how could you not order it? it said TRY

July 07, 2006 8:26 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

Okay, The Hot Wok Village at Golf & Barrington fucking rocks. Awesome. Not Thai Garden greatness, but close. By the grocery store, hidden, southeast corner of the intersection.

Bobby, Panda Express, but their model could be swignificantly improved upon...


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