So,… when I find a place I like I tend to frequent it. I then try to find my staple dish for that place, the thing I can order every time and not get tired of. We are talking so often ordered that they don’t even say “The usual?”. I just enter and make eye contact and they immediately tell the kitchen what to start cooking.

I do not like buffet. I eat buffet when someone else is paying. I generally have my thing I always order, and then I may order some extra I happen to be in the mood for. This is all, of course, after I have sampled their menu and found my thing.

At most Chinese restaurants this ends up being Gyoza/Pot-stickers/Steamed-dumpling. This leads to me being known amongst the help as “The steamed dumpling man”, “Mr. Steamed Dumplings”, or simply “Steamed dumplings”. Eventually they even start calling me this directly, after I have already gotten my order of said food and they have a question.

I have found a place where I can get a lot of healthy food really cheap. When I can’t find a ride to the Amish Salvage Food stores (its worse than it sounds and on unregulated Amish property) I now go to an in town Chinese restaurant. I order the same thing off of the menu every time. Buddhist Delight. Its tofu and veggies with a side of rice. I also get one hot tea. All to go. This hasn’t gotten me the name Buddhist Delight, instead I am Hot tea.

I am the only crazy white person to get hot tea to go and even on the hottest days. I come in and don’t even make eye contact most times, I just walk over to a chair and sit. Seconds late I hear Chinese being spoken (not sure if mandarin or Cantonese, as I haven’t paid enough attention) and the speaker says one phrase in English “Hot Tea.” This repeats till every Chinese speaking worker has at least once said “Hot Tea.” The tea is brought last as I am about to leave. When I look they are smiling. My being a novel oddity must be amusing to them as they all at one point or another have come out of the kitchen to see if I really do get a hot tea.

The one who speaks the best English did one time ask why I always order Buddhist Delight. I simply answered “it is a quick healthy meal that tastes good.” They do not yet address me as “Hot Tea” when trying to get my attention. It will happen eventually I am sure.