Sam Choy’s

Last night, we went to the famous Hawaiian restaurant. There was an insane seating system featuring waiting in a lounge for a half hour for no apparent reason, with empty tables everywhere, while anyone who happened to call on the phone to make a reservation for two weeks from Sunday was given instant priority (aloha!).

We sat down to dinner, and I ordered a salad. The waiter asked me which dressing I wanted. There were two choices–creamy oriental or spicy vinaigrette. I asked him to tell me the ingredients of the creamy–

Wait a minute. The waiter was Asian, and I stopped myself to quickly confirm the word really was there in the menu, before finishing the sentence–oriental. Yes, that’s what I was wondering. What’s in the creamy oriental salad dressing?

Mayonnaise, he started.

Stop right there (I have a gag reflex), that’s all I needed to know. I’ll have the spicy vinaigrette, I said, very glad I’d asked.

Very good, the waiter replied, one salad with the spicy oriental dressing.

Wait. What’s that? No oriental (that could mean mayo). Spicy vinaigrette. No oriental!

I didn’t shout that. I waited patiently to see which dressing arrived. It was the correct one. Salad with spicy oriental vinaigrette, the waiter announced proudly, seemingly having cemented the decision to add the offending word to every salad dressing.

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