Mr. Pancake pt. 3 and a rant on service in China

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Are you bored of Mr. Pancake posts yet? This is the last one!

Above is the eggs Benedict. Pancakes replace English muffins, because this is a place that emphasizes pancakes. The mozzarella melted on the grilled tomato slice is a fun touch. As with the omelettes, I like how this order has lots of food groups.

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The burgers are good.

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Especially when they’re topped with onion rings.

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The batter is crispy and light. And onion rings are a totally acceptable way of getting in your five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, right?

Speaking of legitimate-or-not vegetable servings, the huge basket of rosemary steak fries is not greasy at all. It comes with a spicy ketchup.

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Mr. Pancake’s chicken parmigiana and Spanish paella are great as well.

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If you are looking to introduce more sugar to your diet, this marshmallow-topped chocolate milkshake has you covered.

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Unfortunately, whoever is making the soups is a complete amateur. Last time I was there I added a vegetable soup to my omelette set because it was only 2RMB (about 30 cents). The only flavor was an acidic tomato. I doubt that a mirepoix was even prepared.

Not only was the soup a joke, I was only brought the soup after I had finished the rest of my food. There couldn’t have been more than half a cup of liquid in the bowl, tops, so this was clearly an appetizer.

A note on Chinese service in restaurants. Generally, it sucks. Some of this must be because of how there’s no tipping in China. If your service doesn’t affect how much you get paid, why exert yourself? Other service issues are cultural. For example, it’s common in gatherings of Chinese people for one person to do all the ordering. This is why most restaurants only bring one menu to the table no matter how many people are gathered at the table.

Another issue is timing. In American restaurants, everyone at a table has their appetizers brought over at the same time. Everyone’s mains are brought out at the same time. Everyone’s desserts and brought out at the same time. Why this is a good thing doesn’t need to be explained.

I go out to eat with groups of friends 3-5 times a week in China. The timing of dropping the food is atrocious. Some people won’t get their food until 20 minutes after someone else. Then we have people awkwardly waiting for others to get their food as their own food cools. Or they go ahead and eat, and the rest of the food comes when they’ve finished. Then they have to wait for everyone else to finish. This is super annoying, and I’m not sure why this problem exists. After all, the server is taking all our orders at the same time. The server then relays these orders to the kitchen. The kitchen should be making the orders at the same time and the server should be waiting until everything is out to serve us appropriately but that’s happening only as often as it’s not.

Besides these timing issues, there’s also serving order issues. That’s why you have soup coming after the entree is cleared and dessert getting dropped off first.

Traditionally, Chinese food is consumed in what Americans call “family-style.” Chinese dishes are made for sharing. People don’t order for themselves – instead, they order dishes placed in the center of the table, from which everyone serves themselves. Even if only one dish was being brought out at a time, if this was a Chinese restaurant everyone would be partaking. However, this doesn’t work with western dishes. They aren’t made for sharing. Six people are not going to cut up a single burger and six people are not going to stick their forks into one slice of cake.

I’m glad Chinese servers don’t expect tips, because they won’t be irritated when I don’t leave any.

 

 

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