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Pan Fried Dumplings.

The Omawari-son

A great pleasure of my life is lunch with my son. When The Omawari-son and I both have a day off we’ll go grab something to eat in the afternoon. It is a great opportunity to relax and talk without the distractions either of us tend to have at other times.

One of our regular haunts is a Chinese place not far from the house. The food is good. The people running the place are as nice as they can be. It is the default Chinese restaurant for us. The restaurant is quietly efficient until we say the three magic words.

Pan Fried Dumplings.

We have yet to place an order at this restaurant that causes the turmoil of those three words.

An order without dumplings is written down by the waiter, who smiles and says thank you, then disappears into the kitchen. A short time later, the food arrives. There is no fuss.

For once, could you skip the dumplings?

Yesterday, like several other days, we ordered dumplings. The waiter could not get on his way to the kitchen fast enough as soon as we asked for them. It was almost as if he were in the starting blocks for the Olympic 100 meter hurdles as he awaited the rest of our order. As soon as he hit the kitchen door he screamed out “Pan Fried Dumplings!”

This is apparently part of the procedure at the restaurant. We’ve run across it ordering take out food as well. If I call in an order, the moment I say the three magic words I’m asked to please hold. I can only assume this is so the order can be yelled out.

The dumpling microphone

The best dumpling alert is triggered when we just stop by and place a take out order in person. There is a microphone on one of those flexibly rigid cables that remains bent down out of view. When someone orders dumplings while standing at the register, the woman who works there reaches down and pulls the microphone up. She barks into it – “Pan Fried Dumplings, Pan Fried Dumplings”. Then she shoves it down and placidly asks “will there be anything else?” The change from routine order taking, to barking into the previously hidden microphone, back to routine order taking is done in a way that kind of says “you didn’t see that”.

I did see that, ma’am. I owe you an apology. Sometimes I could call in my order, but I drive over and make it in person so I can see it again.

Now, I’m intuitive enough to guess that making these dumplings must take a little longer than most other things. That intuition doesn’t make the dumpling panic alert any less funny to see.

A plate of fried dumplings (guotie), and dippi...

Image via Wikipedia

The other really odd thing is that the dumpling panic alert is in English. All other communication between the staff of the restaurant is in Chinese. If a waiter passes my table carrying a full tray and notices my glass is empty he’ll look at a co-worker and say what I can only guess is something like “bring the jackass that always orders dumplings another diet coke” – in Chinese. Pan fried dumplings are the only three English words I have ever heard spoken between the staff.

Life is full of changes for the Omawari-son and I. Thoughts of graduation, leaving for college, girls, an audition, friends, approaching retirement, an oven that needs replacing,  and paying for college swirl in our minds. It is nice to be able to share a plate of dumplings, settle down and talk about anything that is on our mind.

Even if the dumplings cause sheer panic in others.

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14 Comments on “Pan Fried Dumplings.”

  1. hannah78 says:

    LOL! That is bizarre!
    Man, now I want dumplings…;)

  2. Keli says:

    After the photo and all the shouting, I have an uncontrollable yearning for pan friend dumplings! By the way, the Omawari-son bears a striking resemblance to you.

  3. Kate says:

    Hmmm … I wonder why they keep making the dumplings or why they don’t jack up the price. I guess the people who work there really ARE nice as they can be.

  4. Kathi D says:

    Really, if you have your son and pan-fried dumplings, what else could you possibly ask for?

  5. queensgirl says:

    The paragraph before the last sentence almost made me tear up.

  6. planetross says:

    This kind of reminded me of the SNL “cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger” sketch.

    Merry Christmas! I’ve been saying that a lot lately. It’s almost here … over here.

  7. jammer5 says:

    When I was stationed at Danang AFB in Vietnam, I used to eat at a place called “The World Restaurant in down town Danang. The same waitress always waited on us. The menu was in Vietnamese. We would point to items on the menu and she would shake her head yes or no.

    I have no idea as to what some of the things ordered consisted of, but we never had a bad meal, and some were unbelievable. I pointed to one item once, and she got this big smile on her face. The chef came out and bowed to all of us and prepared it at the table. Some kind of pork dish (I’m assuming here), with mixed vegetables and a sauce to die for.

    From what we could gather, the sauce cloyed rather quickly, which is why it was prepared tableside. The chef garnered a major applause from all of us, and to our surprise, when we asked for the check, were told the dinner was on the house.

    Sadly, the town went off limits a couple days later (No connection 🙂 ), and we never got to repeat the experience. But it’s one of those meals one will remember for life.

    Hey, bro, Merry Christmas to you and yours. Stay safe and enjoy the holidays. And thanks for this great blog!

  8. linlah says:

    My dad always said if you listen they will talk. That was good advice for a single mother.

  9. omawarisan says:

    QG – It’s an interesting stage, like all the others. Thanks for seeing it.

    Ross – I thought about the Cheeborger sketch but was worried no one else remembered it. If you ever get to Chicago, you have to go to that place – it exists.

    J5 – Thank you sir for the complement and your service.

    Linlah – Your dad was so right. They’ve got a lot to say.

  10. […] One of my favorite things to do is lunch with my son. It is relaxing, and a great way for us to catch up on what is going on in life without the distractions of the rest of life. Last week, opportunity knocked and he picked a Chinese restaurant we both like. No, not that Chinese restaurant, it was this one. […]


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