September 06, 2006

Horse 624 - Authentic?

I went into an Indian restaurant this morning and wanted to get a small Chicken Korma. The place was bedecked in typical garb with kind of pointy doorways and a small shrine with some oranges in front of an elephant statue with 8 arms and incense burning away. I rung the bell and imagine the surprise that swept over me when I saw who'd arrived to take my order.

He was a short chap who with a shock of red hair and wearing a nametag which read "Bill". Now forgive me for this, but shouldn't there be an Indian person working at an Indian restaurant? I I for instance asked the question "How's your Naan?" I think he would have replied "She's old, but it's all good".

The reverse is also true. I'm all for integration into society, except I do happen to think that we lose some of its rich social tapestry when you see the shop name in Blacktown Jimmy's Chinese Tucker.

Admittedly a lot of kebab shops are quite intelligently done such as Yabba Kebaba Doo, Hommus On The Range, Absolutely Kebabulous. Even Hey Hey Kebab in Auburn always good for a laugh.

The one time that really blew me away was once when I was staying in the city of Liverpool. The city is known the world over for its Scouse dialect and accent and also co-incidentally happens to have one of the oldest Chinatown districts in the world. I was in a pub with a few of the people I was staying with and having a chat to the locals when a Chinese man walked in through the door clad in a purple pin-stripe suit much to the jubilation of the patrons; he must have been some local hero.
Anyway when he opened his gob, it wasn't Chinese or Scouse that came forth but almost unintelligble Scottish. This guy had grown up in Edinburgh and it's just not what you'd expect at all - a Chinese Scot.

1 comment:

Katja said...

This is also common on my side of the world:

(when describing a chinese restaurant)
"I don't know about that place...the food's ok but they've got Mexicans working there. Something about that doesn't seem right..."

It's silly but we do think like that.

BUT you have to stop yourself and wonder what difference does it make? As long as the food is authentic (and good), it doesn't matter what hands prepared it.

IF, HOWEVER, there was 50's doo-wop playing in the background or country western music at a chinese or indian place, that might seem really out of place.