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Mixed Vegetables with... 
26th-Jun-2006 09:52 am
Yes, I'm going to grip about British takeaway. Suck it up, it's not your cooking I'm questioning.

I went down to let Caoimhe out this morning and I noticed that some new Chinese Takeaway/Delivery menus had appeared on the mail step.*

I scanned through the menu until I came to the 'Vegetarian Dishes' section.
Mixed Vegetables in Satay sauce
Mixed Vegetables in Curry
Mixed Vegetables in Kon Po sauce
Mixed Vegetables in Kin Top sauce
Mixed Vegetables in Black Bean sauce
Mixed Vegetables Stirfried
Mixed Vegetables Foo Young
Mixed Vegetables with Noodles

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am sick of 'Mixed Vegetables'. I realize that it is my choice to eat vegetarian, my choice to be a semi-picky eater**, my choice to order takeaway when I could cook what I want...and cook it better and cheaper.

Be that as it may, I question to appeal of 'Mixed Vegetables'. I don't want whatever random vegetables you happen to sling in a wok and then douse in sauce. I'm not eating the dish for the sauce alone. The ingredients are not a vehicle for the sauce. If that was the case, I'd go buy a bottle of sauce and just drink it straight.

They have sections for different kinds of meat. It isn't as though this menu is divided into sections with Vegetarian heading one column and Carnivore heading the other. There are no dishes with Mixed Meat.

How disgusting would that be? You want Chinese, so you order the first thing on the menu, 'Mixed Meat with Satay sauce'. Out comes a dish with small bits of duck, big not quite warm pieces of lamb, and so only semi-recognizable variously sized pieces of beef. Ready to suck that dish down?

The last time I had Chinese, Tom and I were down at dreema and nirikina's. It had been a while since I'd had Chinese, so I looked at the menu, ordered a 'Mixed Vegetables with Satay sauce'*** The vegetables turned out to be green pepper, bamboo shoots, sprouts, carrots, broccoli, pineapple, and a few mushrooms. And the broccoli, which for me can save many things, was thin on the ground. The company was good that night, but I found that after I'd picked out the carrots, the broccoli, the bamboo shoots, the mushrooms, and after some contemplation, the green pepper, I was lost in a sea of sprouts. Probably close to half a pound of them.

If they had listed on the menu 'Satay sauce over sprouts...with some veg stuff thrown in for color', I wouldn't have ordered it****

This is by no means a Chinese only problem. I find that the same thing happens in the Indian, Thai, and Mexican***** restaurants here as well.

I don't want to see the above options on the menu for vegetarians. Show some creativity, people. It won't cost you any more money****** and, heck...maybe you'll get more business with people using the veg stuff as side dishes.

I long for Green Beans in Garlic Sauce, Mangetout, Water Chestnuts, and Carrots in Oyster Sauce, Tofu and Broccoli in Black Bean Sauce. Pitch me a combination of a few things instead of the entire produce section. I'll even let you keep your precious mixed veg if you promise to stop skimping on the broccoli.

Besides, if I wanted a plate of sprouts, it's right there on the back for £2.30. If I didn't order it, I don't want it.

* The mail step is where everything ends up. Mail, junk flyers, menus, mail for people who are gone. I don't know where the erroneous mail ends up, but after a few weeks, I take the junk and pitch it. Unless the downstairs neighbor beats me to it.
** I say semi because I don't hold a candle to Tom's pickiness.
*** I love satay sauce. That's why it keeps popping to mind in the examples. It can make up for a myriad of sins usually, but not in this situation.
**** Nor would I then have left nirikina and dreema with a plate of sprouts to deal with.
***** Not that what's here is really Mexican. NO, DAMMIT, it's not. One day I'll smuggle some Mexicans in, start a restaurant, and you can argue with Chef Julio about it. I'm betting on Julio.
****** Ain't no way prawns cost the same as carrots. Just saying.
26th-Jun-2006 09:32 am (UTC)
You've just identified one of the reasons that I stopped being vegetarian, I was so *sick* of 'vegetable lasagna' which was a few anaemic veggies in a watery tomato sauce, and the totally uninspired offerings from most other types of place, from corner shop take-aways to 'proper' restaurants.

It is possible to find interesting and good veggie food, but it's not easy.

BTW I have been to a curry place that offered 'chicken' or 'meat' as the options. Admittedly I've only been there once.
26th-Jun-2006 09:51 am (UTC)
I remember some friends from college who went to an Indian restaurant and had the nerve to ask what the 'meat' was. After a dead-end conversation with the waiter, "well it's meat, isn't it?", they asked the manager, who went to the kitchen and brought out a can that was simply labelled 'meat'.
26th-Jun-2006 09:54 am (UTC)
Does exactly what it says on the tin? I thought Ronseal only did stains and varnishes ;-)
26th-Jun-2006 10:05 am (UTC)
They weren't in Manchester were they. When I was there the (I think I remember the name of the place) Plaza Cafe was some kind of rite of passage.
26th-Jun-2006 10:24 am (UTC)
It was in Cambridge. I've seen many Indian restaurants use 'meat' on their menus.
26th-Jun-2006 09:49 am (UTC)
You're in Scotland, eat Scottish stuff. Go and have a white pudding supper! Or a macaroni pie. Sorted.

The mail step is where everything ends up. Mail, junk flyers, menus, mail for people who are gone. I don't know where the erroneous mail ends up, but after a few weeks, I take the junk and pitch it. Unless the downstairs neighbor beats me to it.

A letter may appear for me next month. Car tax reminder. Sorry, but I still haven't re-registered my car at my current address, because I'm always intending to leave here! Maybe I could reverse jinx the whole flat buying situation by sending off my documentation :)

Not that what's here is really Mexican. NO, DAMMIT, it's not.

We really don't have the moustaches here to pull it off.
26th-Jun-2006 11:00 am (UTC)
Ach, I'm not taking up eating meat just yet. I've not been pushed that far.

I will keep a lookout for your letter. :)
26th-Jun-2006 11:38 am (UTC)
Ach, I'm not taking up eating meat just yet. I've not been pushed that far.

White pudding != meat
Macaroni pie != meat

I will keep a lookout for your letter. :)

Thanks :)
26th-Jun-2006 12:04 pm (UTC)
But...I don't! Eat! White Pudding!

I admit, macaroni pies could have a whole sheep in there. Enough calories present, at least.
26th-Jun-2006 01:26 pm (UTC)
I could eat those macaroni pies all day. And then I could never move again. ;)
26th-Jun-2006 11:14 am (UTC)
i'm on a mission now to make you your own personalized(i refuse to subsitute the 'z' with an 's' - no matter how bad i spell) menu for when you come to visit...you probably know places you like to eat here already, but i'm doing it anyway! :-)
26th-Jun-2006 12:05 pm (UTC)

I can't say that I've not found good restaurants. I just spend a lot of time asking about what's in dishes. I feel like a pain in the ass doing it, and I'm sure the waiters think I'm a pain in the ass as well. But! I won't eat zucchini/courgettes, and that's final! :)
26th-Jun-2006 12:10 pm (UTC)
Err hud on... there's more to British Takeaways than the traditional "Mixed Vegetables" than you portray!

My favourite takeaway serves options like stir-fried tofu, pak-choi, straw mushrooms, chinese greens, mixed seasonal vegetables, etc etc and also a pick your ingredients (meat or veg) and choose your sauce.

Mind you it is in chinatown in Manchester.

Try either Dim Sum Inn on George Street, or Yangtse River on Bridge Street for decent Chinese Fare in Aberdeen. The Yangtse is my favourite up here.


RantSpace.co.uk (http://www.rantspace.co.uk)
26th-Jun-2006 03:33 pm (UTC)
I wasn't impressed by the menu at Yangtse, but I will give it a go. I haven't seen the Dim Sum place. (If you happen to stop back by) where is it on George St? Towards the shopping center or towards PC World?
27th-Jun-2006 12:02 am (UTC)
The Dim Sum Inn is heading away from the Bon Accord Centre, between Cragie Street and Maberly Street.
26th-Jun-2006 12:21 pm (UTC)
At least you've a vegetarian option at all. That said, both of our local Chinese places have a dish called Buddha's Delight, which is mixed vegetables and tofu in some sort of vegetarian sauce, and is exceptionally good. It's now my 'not feeling like cooking' meal of choice.

I know that it's just that we're in a small town here, but the summer I spent in Cambridge, I was continously amazed at all of the vegetarian options. Thank God we walked more, I'd have gained weight, rather than lost.
26th-Jun-2006 12:35 pm (UTC)
That's what you get for living in the provinces - insufficient immigrants to faithfully reproduce interesting dishes, and insufficient vegetarians to really cater to them. Still, I'm disappointed there are no mixed meat dishes on their menu.

But looking through their sauce options, I'm more amused by 'kin top sauce - more original than "house special" or "finest" I guess.

Oh, anything you want me to pick you up while I'm in the US later this week btw ?

the hatter
26th-Jun-2006 03:31 pm (UTC)
Fritos corn chips? A bag or two? That would be lovely. :)
26th-Jun-2006 04:36 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, Fritos. My parents brought me a bag when they visited last month. I'm doling them out to myself a few at a time.

*frito love*
26th-Jun-2006 01:31 pm (UTC)
Satay isn't normally Chinese, is it?

Why do you order straight off the menu anyway? Can you just order say, brocolli in satay, and see what you get?
26th-Jun-2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
No. Satay isn't normally Chinese, but it's on pretty much every Chinese menu in Aberdeen.

I don't order things not on the menu because I have the fear. Eventually I may get comfortable enough with being a demanding American, but for now, I'm not.

27th-Jun-2006 08:03 am (UTC)
They make up chicken chow mein with extra mushrooms for me. I don't see it as being fussy, I see it as testing if the restaurant wants to please their customers. If they say no, then there's another dozen takeaway places. If vegetarians don't kick up a fuss at what they're served then the restaurants think they're producing good food. But they can't improve if you don't tell them what you want.
27th-Jun-2006 09:27 am (UTC)
I figure I've got about another six months before I feel at home enough to be demanding. I still have the little voice in my head that says 'don't be demanding, they'll think you're a horrible American'.

I suppose they'll think that either way, so I should just suck it up and ask for what I want. :)
27th-Jun-2006 01:51 pm (UTC)
well next time you tell us what you want, and we'll be the demanding english people instead ;)

And i have to say, I thought that satay sauce looked quite ... runny. We have some in the freezer that kieran made, and that's pretty much like molten peanut butter (and rather tasty). I'm sure i could catch some brocolli for next time, quick steam and then served up in a little bowl with satay sauce for dunkin'
27th-Jun-2006 05:04 pm (UTC)
That would be lovely. (Though, somehow I can't seem to wrap my mind around Kieran as a cook...)

I'll get it together and hopefully before I waste anymore money on weird takeaway. :)
27th-Jun-2006 05:51 pm (UTC)
He makes a mean chilli.
27th-Jun-2006 02:12 am (UTC)
LOLOLOL. G & I just got home from eating at a Chinese buffet. He always asks if they have bean curd and they'll fry it up and make it spicey in yummy sauce. A lot of times, they'll bend over backwards to make you something veggie since the majority of the food is w/meat. G's argument was also about Don Pablo's portabella mushroom fajitas- "why is it that they only give us about 4 pieces of mushroom and a ton of veggies when if it were beef or chicken, there would be way more pieces...?" and they never have an answer. Ah, the joys of being a vegetarian.

Today, at work, one of my coworkers was talking about being vegetarian, and she was like "well, what makeup do you use?" and I was all "Clinique, but I don't EAT it." touche. Shut her up. Stupid people suck.

Well, I'm out dear.
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