Tuesday, September 18, 2012

the dinner debacle

First night in Singapore after a two hour flight delay (aka 9 hours lacking substantial food and eating the dark chocolate tim tams meant as a gift...) (oh, also, I am not a fan of Jetstar) and I get into a fight about my bill.
We decided to eat by the river, and after perusing by the row of eerily similar seafood restaurants and being harassed by the hosts at each one (this is why I hate hounding people who are glancing at the menus at work)... we settled on the one that offered us both free drinks and 30% off anything on the menu.
Now would be a good time to insert a plug about how important (and necessary) it is to speak the same language as the owner/waitress/hostess when discussing deals.

Anyways, I ordered the $30 BBQ stingray... because I read on the plane that stingray and chili crab are must-trys in Singapore and because now I can say I ate stingray... and dude explains, in choppy English, what I interpreted as... "I can only give you 30% on one of your meals because the wines are free."

Needless to say, I was livid when I saw that my bill came to be $40.
Apparently they charged for the tissues (which were placed by our plates before we sat down) and the chips (which were cheap and in a small enough portion to be considered complimentary in any reasonable food establishment, especially given that he set the bowl on our table) - the fuck, the thing I hate about Asia/Asian establishments is that they like to randomly charge for random shit without informing you beforehand.  [Also, I was thrown off by the tax and tip just because I worry about neither of those things in Aussie.]

Argument with the owner dude was what sent my body into a nervous quivering, which always happens when I get angry and want to throw something.  I still don't know what he was saying... there was a lot of "I'm talking to you.  I'm just talking to you." and something about ordering one.. or two... or not ordering one or two.  Even more infuriating was the fact that he didn't understand why I misunderstood why I thought I was going to get a discount when he nodded and said yes when I asked if I was going to get a discount.
"In my culture, nodding usually means yes."
It was funny because I usually never argue about things like this because either my dad is there to do it for me or I am too meek/lazy to deal with it, but being tired and hungry would make anyone an angry person - too bad I don't even know if they caught my sarcasm or the meanings of all my profanities.
Then the lady who didn't understand basic math skills or the concept of doing things step by step.  Apparently, she ran off and threatened to call the cops, but I interpreted her grabbing my $30 as "I'm just going to get up because after calculating everything out, the final total should have been around $29 so I paid what they initially said I owed."
Her parting words were "I'm not going to call the cops; you can go, bye bye."
Yeah, bitch, what are they going to do anyways?
Too bad the place was empty and no one was even considering eating there because I was ready to tell any passers-by to keep walking.
But the stingray was pretty good... pretty damn small, but good.  Tender texture, not very different from fish, but the sauce had a good flavour... I think I picked out salty fermented bean paste and smokiness and maybe a little bit of sweetness, best with lemon... but I was starving (oh, they probably also didn't like that I openly complained about how long it was taking... which is why I asked for so many bowls of chips in the first place) and kind of just shoved the whole thing in my mouth.
Great first night.

At least I kept the spending to a minimum today, what with all the free food in the hotel club lounge.  And thank you continental breakfast - something I definitely miss about the States.  The things you expect when you grow up in certain parts of the world...
Love being in Asia for the Mid Autumn festival... or "mooncake festival" if you're fat like me and care more about what you eat for what holiday rather than the history of how it came to be.
Had a delicious sample of pandan mooncake for the first time today - need to buy.
Year of the dragon = my baby brother's turning twelveeeeee.

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