‘Ashun’ Restaurants

I derive a particular pleasure from dining at Asian restaurants. As I walk through China Town, torn between the smells and sounds emanating from the bowels of each kitschy establishment, my mind whirs with anticipation. It is not the prawn crackers, nor the delicately perfumed Jasmine tea, that have this effect.

My titillation is spelling related.

Open up a menu and you are sure to be delighted by a smorgasbord of orthographic interpretations. You will inhabit the mind of the author as he tapped out each delicious word with a reckless abandon that says, “f*** you” to the establishment, whilst inviting the openhearted customer into a familiar world of Asian phonetic bliss.

It is also via this phenomenon that Asian restaurateurs allow us to healthily vent suppressed anger. They bring to the surface a latent spelling-centric indignation, cultivated toward our Anglo-Frisian Germanic language via years of failed school spelling tests. They rise up in peaceful rebellion. Theirs is a noble act that demonstrates solidarity not only between restaurant and customer, but also between all purveyors of Asian cuisine. Despite great variety in the gastronomical experiences offered under the ‘Asian’ umbrella, you can count on one similarity — a liberal serving of misspellings —  to accompany your meal. It is this example of meta-cultural unification that must be upheld as a model of the global unity that we so ardently desire in contemporary Western society.

I compel you to delve beyond the deep fried on your next Asian food encounter. Taste is one thing. Of far greater note is the political complexity embodied in the ‘chickin’, the subtle rebelliousness emanating from the ‘noodel’ soup and the pure joy passed on in the ‘porn crackers’.

Symonne Torpy

FoodThis Issue

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