A shopping excursion with family led to an unlikely lunch at PF Chang's. Having heard so much about this postmodern American institution I admit that I was bit curious. I had been expecting lively Americanized Chinese -- sweet, brightly flavored, lightly textured -- but the fare proved to be shockingly bad: gummy, salty, brownish, with lots of undercooked celery thrown in. The mystery of PF Chang's has deepened. As to the chain's success, I used to wonder "why"; now I wonder "how is it possible."
The meal got off to a funny start. A waiter mixed a dipping sauce at the table (disgusting). He explained that the black liquid he was pouring was soy sauce and that it is used in place of salt in Asian cultures. My Taiwanese wife appreciated the lesson.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina