One day, I had the brilliant (so I thought) idea of ordering a whole bunch of items at my favorite Chinese restaurant in Bogota. I figured that given the price of ingredients, I might as well buy the food ready-made. Also, ordering many dishes would allow me to nibble from many different dishes… I got an accomplice who rather fancied the idea for herself. So we ordered quite a few dishes including a few repeats (sometimes you just don’t want to share the appetizer, am I right?). — Pause here… we waiting in anticipation… —
Suddenly, the chef came out of the kitchen. He yelled at us in Mandarin for five minutes. Five minutes of gesticulating and yelling. I kept smiling. Five minutes of the chef yelling at us that we had ordered too much food.
Finally, the Colombian waiter stopped him by saying the Chinese word for “to go.” The chef stomped back to the kitchen. Then I laughed. I had leftovers all week long.
The following time, I took a larger group and when a Mandarin speaker tried to get chummy with the chef, the chef recognized me and said, “She knows.” And this time I completely understood him.