Thursday, February 24, 2005


Memo to All "Pan-Asian" or "Asian Fusion" or "Asian-Infused" Restaurants:

First of all, just admit it: "Pan-Asian" is your way of charging exorbitant prices and exploiting naive white people who don't feel comfortable venturing into a restaurant run by actual Asian immigrants.

Second, stop skimping on the flavor and spices. Are you interpreting the Greek prefix "Pan" in "Pan-Asian" to mean "not even remotely"? I'm talking to you, Zao Noodle, king of bland.

Third, if you're going to co-opt Asian food, stick to the cuisine of one country. You can't offer watered-down versions of pad thai, adobo, sashimi, and bi bim bop on your menu. You're destroying the ongoing struggle of Asian Americans to convince everybody else that we're not all the same.

Fourth, stop using that damn Oriental font.

Fifth, tell your waitresses to pull the chopsticks out of their hair.

Sixth, if I order sushi and you feed me "art" food, I'm going to send it back to the kitchen with instructions for the chef to shove the butterfly nigiri and the "Stop Drop and Roll" up his wasabi.

Seventh, if I eat at your restaurant, feed me. I need Hungry Man XXL portions, not the teaspoons of low-carb teriyaki trifles designed for your anorexic Atkins customers. And don't insult me by putting the speck of Peking Duck Dung onto a giant plate the size of China.

Eighth, confess that you purchased all your exotic decor from Pier One.

Ninth, no rice dish should ever include peanut butter.

And finally, after your customers hopefully realize that your chefs know nothing about any Asian cuisine, hand them the following fortune cookie: