Trendy restaurants are all the rage in Beijing these days – both fancy-dress joints and “high-concept” restaurants. Among the latter are places like the all-new “dark” restaurant, romantically named “Whale Insides,” where diners pay top dollar to eat their food in pitch blackness (the waiters wear night-vision goggles) and old favorites like the 忆苦思甜 restaurants where people eat stewed grass and bark served to them by khaki-suited watiers so that they can remember the good old days of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. The notion of making a living off of people with too much money and not enough sense appeals to me for some reason, and I’d been wondering how one could get in on the racket. Current US events provided the inspiration:
First, following in the footsteps of other fine eateries around town, I’ll pick a downtown location and decorate it with the finest of fineries. I am thinking here of automatic clear glass doors, little streams that require you to take long detours so that you can go over the footbridges, and wall paneling that will consist entirely of waitresses, dressed in Day-Glo pink uniforms, who will say “欢迎光临! Welcome!” and/or “谢谢慢走! Thank you; goodbye!” to you once every 1.4 seconds. (Come to think of it, all of this may already be required by Beijing restaurant zoning laws. Note to self: look into this.)
The food will consist of freeze-dried ice cream, stale pizza, and tubes of a red substance which upon examination will turn out to be ketchup. I will explain that I am bringing Astronaut cuisine to Beijing, thus making the capital of China not only an international city, but an interstellar one as well. (Take that, Shanghai!)
Customers may ask whether I myself am an Astronaut. I will explain that I am an Astronaut-American.
Customers may point out that the food is not only disgusting but also awful and vile. I will sigh and say that you really can’t get food the way they made it in the Old Country anymore.
Customers may ask whether there is anything to the “Astronaut cuisine” thing besides stale pizza and ketchup. I will say that although Astronaut-Americans feel a very strong connection to their Astronaut roots, they’ve had to adapt their cooking to the local conditions, e.g. gravity.
THIS CANNOT POSSIBLY LOSE, YO.