I recently had the misfortune to go to the Peking Restaurant in Media, Pennsylvania. We had such bad food that I felt compelled to write a review. My Mom said not to bother, but I figure if it saves one person then I will have done my job.
I had just finished my self defense class, which will soon become a full Karate class much to my delight. I always feel hungry after these, so wanted to get something to eat. I thought about just making stir-fry, but Mom suggested going to Peking, a Chinese restaurant at the mall. I had a bad feeling, but agreed. I just hate going to a place and ending up with something I could have cooked for a fourth of the price and which would have sucked a fourth as much.
We sat down in the nice decor. They brought out water. We thought we’d get some crunchy noodles or a cucumber dish, but nothing. If you think menus at these restaurants seem difficult to parse, imagine trying to do it without sight, requiring someone else to read it for you. Mom read the menu, but it didn’t help much, because nothing had descriptions. I don’t know this stuff. I just wanted a good tofu stir-fry kind of thing. I felt hungry and cranky.
The waiter came over and we tried to have a conversation. I asked him about vegetarian food, and he said Buddha’s Delight, tofu and vegetables in a “white sauce” whatever that means. I asked about a few other tofu dishes, but finally opted just to go with the recommendation, whatever. We also got some vegetable dumplings and I asked for some green tea as well. Mom ordered some hot and sour soup.
The dumplings and soup came out first. The dumplings tasted average – not bad, but not great either. They just tasted like the stuff in spring rolls but in a noodle. hmm. Mom said her soup tasted average as well, and she expected better. She began to have a bad feeling too. I waited for my entree feeling cranky. They also hadn’t brought my tea yet.
The Buddha’s Delight came a few minutes later. “It looks wonderful.” said Mom. I asked the waiter for tea again and this time he brought it. I tried eating. A few of the vegetables tasted good, but then I noticed that I didn’t get any tofu. I asked Mom to look, and sure enough she didn’t see any. This flipped my lid. They knew I wanted something with tofu. The guy came back and we tried to reason. “No tofu?” “Ah………………. Mixed vegetables and white sauce.” “But I wanted tofu.” “Mixed vegetables.” I didn’t feel like arguing. The mushrooms tasted weird, as though treated with chemicals. Everything tasted weird. It would have probably tasted better with some tofu to give it some body. I couldn’t take it. Mom just asked for the check.
“Well, at least we got fortune cookies.” she said, trying to think of something positive. I figured they would relate to our experience here. Mom got: Sometimes listening well is just as important as talking well. They would have done well to understand that one. I opened the packet and noticed the cookie had already broken. I didn’t even get the primal pleasure of breaking my fortune cookie in half. That literally tore it! I got: Necessity is the mother of trying something new. Or words to that effect. True enough.
In conclusion, you know a restaurant sucks when you leave and immediately say: “Well, I guess I’d better get cooking.” Well, I guess I’d better.
And just to show you, I will now describe how to make a stir-fry. Start by cooking the brown rice as per instructions, it takes an hour. Take some tofu and put it between paper towels. Plates an object such as a frying pan on top to weight it. Let it drain for about a half an hour. Meanwhile, chop up whatever vegetables you have around – mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, whatever. Also, chop some garlic and fresh ginger root. The fresh ginger root makes the stir-fry! Onions and scallions go well also.
Put some sesame oil in a wok and let it heat. Chop up the tofu or just crumble it and put it in, allowing it to fry up a little. Next, add the garlic and ginger, followed a few minutes later by the vegetables. Stir occasionally, don’t let anything stick and burn. Make a secret sauce by combining soy sauce and whatever other good things you have around, such as hot sauce, vinegar, maybe a little sugar, anything that sounds good. Throw it in and let it cook for a little longer. I always save some garlic and ginger for the end, which I throw in right as I kill the flame. And there you go: easy and good stir-fry.