On the DC board, the topic came up of ordering food at Sichuan restaurants, where it's often hard (at least in this area) to convince the waitstaff that you actually want authentic Sichuan-style ma la food.
Someone mentioned that they had Chinese friends who used a phrase in Chinese that means, roughly, "as it should be" to indicate that they wanted food that wasn't toned down for American palates but that didn't just get you the toned-down version with a bunch of peppers thrown on top (which is what I often get when I ask for something "spicy").
Does anyone know what that phrase might be, and/or do folks have suggestions for other useful shibboleths that might convince wait staff to bring out more authentic dishes (of any cuisine) without us linguistically-challenged hounds having to learn a new language for each cuisine?
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