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Austin Pet Peeves

Peeves with Asia Cafe


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Restaurants & Bars Austin Pet Peeves

Peeves with Asia Cafe

conquer | | Jun 18, 2009 09:36 AM

1. They keep increasing their prices. (Many places are doing so, but it seems every single time I go, the prices are raised, yet again.) This place is supposed to be cheap. I don't think paying $8 for Mapo Tofu is exactly a good deal.

2. Lack of cleanliness. (I understand it's a dive, but the table and seats are always dirty - note to bussers: please don't just wipe the table off onto the seats, it's disgusting - and, watching the chef in a wifebeater scratching his belly and wiping the dripping sweat off his face across his forearm sans a hairnet anywhere in sight, doesn't exactly inspire confidence in health code compliance.)

3. Attitude. This is strange, and I've experienced and observed it enough to feel like I can comment: they treat Asian and white customers very differently. With whites, they're always smiling, making small talk, cracking jokes, almost exaggeratedly fawning over them. On the other hand, with Asian customers (and not just me), they're much more brusque, quieter, with hardly ever a smile, a Hello, or a Thank You. Strange. And can I just make an official announcement to all the white folks who go there? DO NOT hold up the line by asking moronic questions, such as 'What's in the Chicken and Chilis?' and 'Can you make XXX, without soy sauce?' (If you don't want soy sauce, GET PIZZA.) This is particularly directed at those middle-aged white guys in Hawaiian shirts.

4. While many items are good, some are simply *AWFUL* (and, sorry, NOT authentic). The Zhong Dumplings, for instance. Dumplings are not supposed to thick-skinned. They taste like they are defrosted from the packaged dumplings in the nearby freezers - and they probably are. The Xiao Long Bao (I forget what they call them in English on the menu), on the weekend brunch menu (and which they sometimes sell up front): again, the skin's way too thick for these - Xiao Long Bao's are supposed to be paper-thin with a pure meat filling (fatty enough so the grease, or 'soup' as we say in Chinese, comes out of the meat and somewhat collapses the buns). Otherwise you cannot bill them as 'Xiao Long Bao'. That would be like me calling tacos 'tamales'. And what's a Sichuan restaurant doing selling Xiao Long Bao anyway, which is a northern specialty? Last, the Spicy Rice Jelly has an unpleasant gristly texture that shouldn't be.

5. Is there really a reason to be stingy with the Sichuan peppercorn hot sauce? You have to ask for them now, and they only bring you a tiny little dish of it.

6. Finally, bring back the pre-order menu!

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