(Featured image of menu courtesy of Tripadvisor)
A few days ago, some friends here in Macau took me out to dinner at Fernando’s. Nice atmosphere, great layout, near to the beach. I typically go to restaurants with my non-veggie friends for the conversation and camaraderie, and I often won’t eat anything if the establishment is not vegan-friendly or if they cook their veggie meals in the same kitchen (pots) as the meat dishes.
This time, however, I decided to act like an adjusted member of the planet Earth and behave in a manner so as to blend in with the other humans. So, I scanned the menu and ordered the vegetable soup. Simple enough. Safe. The photo showed a bowl of soup with vegetables in it. No one on the wait staff need ever know an alien was dining amongst their regular customers.
The soup arrived, and I waited for my friends’ dishes to arrive before I started. At one point during the wait, a waitress passed by and (reverting to my old ways) I decided to ask what exactly was in the vegetable soup before I started.
Me: Hi, could you tell me what the ingredients are in this soup?
Her: I’m sorry, I have no idea!
Me (in shock, and snidely); Well, YOU may have no idea what’s in this, but I need to know what I’m eating. Could you find out, please?
She headed into the kitchen and soon, the manager came to our table.
Me: Hi! Could you tell me what the ingredients are in the soup?
Manager: Potatoes, vegetables and water.
Me: Potatoes, vegetables and water. (I forget which vegetable it was)
Manager: Yes, potatoes, vegetables and water.
Me: Cool! Cool! Cool! No butter?
Me: No dairy, no milk?
Me: Cool! Thanks so much!
Manager (as he turns to walk away): Oh, and a piece of sausage.
At that moment, the manager, probably from the wide-eyed look of disbelief he may have seen on my face, surmised he was speaking with a vegetarian, and approached the table.
Me: Oh, I thought it was a vegetable soup.
He was gracious enough to take the soup and the pig in my soup away and offered to make me a new bowl of “vegetable” soup himself. He brought a fresh bowl back in about 10 minutes, and I thanked him profusely.
Of course, I didn’t drink the new bowl of soup either. What are you kidding me!??? Who knows what else he may have innocently overlooked in the list of “by the way” ingredients! (“Oh, yes, and of course, we always add a cupful of MSG and monkey brain to all our dishes!” as he walks away.)
However, I didn’t want his hard work to go to waste, or to insult him by leaving an uneaten bowl of soup on the table, so one of my dinner companions was nice enough to eat it for me! Bon appetit! Still, we all had a great time!
Now, this is entirely my fault. I’ve obviously been out of touch with human reality and living in my own lifestyle bubble for too long. So, here’s what I’ve learned: Out here in the real world, the word “soup” is more like a metaphor, really, and actually means “in a soup bowl with my meat.” Confused? I’ll translate a scenario for you:
Waitress: How can I help you today, sir? (Translation: How would you like your meat today, sir?)
Me (with a savvy wink): Vegetable soup, please. (Translation: Vegetables “in a soup bowl with my meat” please.)
See how that works? That’s why travel is so important. How else will you learn new things? This poor lady in the video below hasn’t quite caught on yet:
Share this post with your friends so they too can learn!
Celebrity Watch: While we were there at Fernando’s, my dinner companions noticed the host of Master Chef, Graham Elliot, dining with a group of his friends! Sorry, no photos!
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