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"You No Like"

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"You No Like"

Doc | Jul 31, 2003 05:59 PM

(The meal I'm about to discuss took place in New Orleans, but since that board tends to focus more on Creole/Cajun/seafood than in our local ethnic selections, I'm reluctant to post it there. If this is not an appropriate place for it, the Chowhound Team should of course feel free to move it wherever they feel it belongs.)

Yesterday I had lunch at Dong Phuong, a Vietnamese restaurant in New Orleans East. They have some Anglo customers, but their menu is primarily geared toward the large Vietnamese community in that area.

When I ordered something called "duck noodle soup," I experienced a more polite version of Calvin Trillin's "You no like" phenomenon (what he claims Chinese waiters in New York tell him when he asks about the dishes on those untranslated wall signs). Our waitress asked me if I'd had the dish before, then told me I probably wouldn't like it because it contained fresh bamboo shoots which have a "very strong smell." I assured her I love to try new things and wouldn't be mad or try to get out of paying for the dish if I didn't like it. She took my order, but came back a few minutes later looking even more worried and told me again about the "very strong smell." At that point, trying to reassure her, I told her I love durian. That seemed to make her feel a little better, but when my soup came to the table, she said, "I hope you can eat it" (words I don't believe I've ever previously heard from a server).

It was delicious. The bamboo shoots were fragrant, but I wouldn't characterize them as very strong-smelling. The duck was tender, the broth rich and golden. I was pleased to surprise our waitress by eating the whole thing. Frankly, I don't see what the big deal was; the ingredient was unusual but not in the same category as chicken feet, omentum, or the aforementioned durian.

My question: Have you ever been warned twice (or more) about a "challenging" dish and ordered it anyway? If so, did you end up liking it? If you didn't like it, did you try to eat it anyway so as not to have the servers and cooks laugh at you?

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