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A Tale of Two Eateries

Sometimes I really wonder what is going through people’s heads. How can some people be so cool and with-it while others are thick as pigshit and unable to think outside the box.  I’m showcasing these two joints for absolutely polar opposite reasons in terms of service and mentality. They are in a lane behind Bade Rd, Section 3. I forget the exact address but it’s on a corner in a market area, pretty much opposite the Taipei Stadium and Sports Centre.

If there’s a better liang mien deal this side of the Formosa Strait, my name ain’t FTNM.

Case 1: The Perfect Example of How to Run a Small Restaurant in Taiwan  

I’ve been to this place quite a few times and I can’t think of many better places to eat for the price. It’s a cold noodle store, liang mien they call it in Chinese. You get a load of noodles, a kind of sesame sauce, cabbage, shredded cucumber and chicken and it really fills you up for just 50NT! Not only is the grub good and excellent value – I once realised I didn’t have a penny to my name after the boss lady handed me my noodles and sheepishly told her I would try and go to the bank. She raised her arms in protest and refused to hear of it. She was basically saying next time without batting an eyelid.  Another time, she forgot to add the sesame sauce for my take-out. When I mentioned it the next time, she looked mortified and gave me a free dish of veg (which I don’t even think is on the menu) on the house. As well as the food being good and dirt cheap, this is why I keep coming back here.

This poor young hussy got caught in the crossfire. To her I offer half-sincere apologies. Still: If you’re standing outside a bona fide dufus-owned establishment, you can’t expect to roll around with pigs and not get mucky. The offender can be seen peeping out from behind the pillar btw. Probably dropping the exact amount of coriander leaves allowed into a bowl of soup. Cos that’s OK.

Case Two: The Clueless Dickhead Next Door

This place is next a couple of doors down, right on the corner. I’d been there a few times before. The guy remembered me but apparently that counted for nothing. I was buying a 35NT portion of rice and fatty pork lurou fan and asked the guy to sling a couple of sprigs of coriander on top. My Chinese is pretty basic but I know that word because I love coriander. I’ve made this request at many places before with no problem. But Mr Man here says “Sorry, that’s not for rice.”  I was with a Taiwanese girlfriend and so made sure I understood right. Even she was amazed by this idiot’s refusal to give me a couple of leaves but, in true Taiwanese non-confrontational fashion, she turned away and gave me a helpless look.

I wasn’t giving up that easily. “You don’t want to give me a little bit of coriander?” I asked.

“It’s for the soup, not rice.”

“But I come here quite often. I just want a little bit.”

“Sorry, there’s nothing I can do.”

This last phrase I know because I’ve heard it too many times. It’s: “Mayo banfa”, which means something like “There’s nothing I can do”. With the help of my reluctant female friend, I told him I wouldn’t come back to his place. He shrugged and turned away. What a fool.

Conclusion: I have had experiences similar to both Case 1 and 2 over the last couple of years but far too many like the second. OK, people have their silly little rules but surely it’s just common sense to break them for a regular customer. Why would you not do something so small and insignificant? Answer: Because you are a moron who sees rules as more important than customer service.  I only give peabrains like this one chance (in fact this guy got a couple) before I blacklist them.


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