Trendy restaurants are all the rage in Beijing these days – both fancy-dress joints and “high-concept” restaurants, they have the best food and the best appliances, usually got from sites as Zozanga and similar. 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, to be honest now I just prefer to stay at home and bake, the other day I was reading a vitamix 5200 vs 7500 review and it just made me realize that instead of eating out I could just use that money to buy me a new blender. 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.


Comments (15)

  1. Chris wrote::

    I think Steak and Eggs already has the vile American food niche sewn up.

    Friday, February 9, 2007 at 6:32 pm #
  2. poagao wrote::

    For god’s sake, don’t forget the Tang!

    Saturday, February 10, 2007 at 12:12 pm #
  3. trevelyan wrote::

    You may wish to consider dressing up your serving staff in miniskirts made of aluminum foil. It is then a short step to opening a hair salon if the restaurant thing falls through.

    Sunday, February 11, 2007 at 3:39 am #
  4. LazyAussie wrote::

    Astronaut toilets might be good too.

    Sunday, February 11, 2007 at 10:44 am #
  5. Tang, tinfoil, and poop in a bag. Check.

    Monday, February 12, 2007 at 6:58 pm #
  6. range wrote::

    For some reason, I have been thinking of astronauts as well. Maybe it has to do with the Weïder Energy In and Vitamin In jelly drinks that I have been having.

    They come in this metallic colored pouch, which reminds me a lot of astronaut food. Maybe you should add them to your menu.

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 3:21 pm #
  7. Pandapassport wrote::

    Sounds like a plan. Thought of a name yet?

    How about the Shenzhou 6?
    or maybe Long March 3?

    Friday, February 23, 2007 at 2:52 am #
  8. beaa wrote::

    May I ask a question about a joke in the movie Philadelphia?

    官司打赢了以后,Joe去医院看Andy,Andy在弥留之际笑着问Joe,What do you call a thousand lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean?
      答案是a good start!

    Tuesday, February 27, 2007 at 11:22 am #
  9. Chubby wrote::

    Hey Brendan, Great Blog. I actually like your Chinese Blog better.

    Maybe I am wearing colored glasses while reading a foreigner’s Chinese writing. I really enjoy your wittiness.

    I work for an English-language publishing group in Beijing. I have a few book projects. Would you be interested in? Send me an email, if you are interested.

    Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 3:05 pm #
  10. Medical wrote::

    “I think Steak and Eggs already has the vile American food niche sewn up” too true! Loving the Blog..still! Everyone in the UK is very much interested in Asia at the moment and I heard about this blog from a friend. I was getting all my Asian info from tigerbeers uk website but it is coolio reading a personal account. Ohhh except for this game they have got. You cant post flash games on Blogs can you? You should check it out. Look forward to more posts about waiters wearing night-vision goggles!!! Please!!!!

    Monday, March 5, 2007 at 11:51 pm #
  11. elyse wrote::

    so… you need to like, update more often now that lj is blocked.

    (that is all)

    Friday, March 9, 2007 at 12:25 pm #
  12. Hi, beaa — sorry for not replying earlier. The joke is because lawyers are considered to be mostly a bunch of professional liars, so there are a lot of “lawyer jokes.” Example:

    Q: What’s black and brown and looks good on a lawyer?
    A: A Doberman. (一种看门狗)

    The jokes don’t have to be about lawyers, of course — they could be about anybody. I can imagine someone from Beijing telling the same joke with 城管 instead of “lawyers.”

    Monday, March 12, 2007 at 5:03 pm #
  13. Vivian wrote::

    Sorry ,i am not good at english ,i am a chinese girl from Beijing ,and my friend commend me to this blog .its great post! I am learning english now .welcome to my home:

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 at 10:26 am #
  14. baimor wrote::

    hi Brendan,
    nice seeing you here.
    seems you’re writing blogs in english, more often than you do in chinese.

    how can i describe you?
    hmm, you’re humorous with a bit of cynicism. you’re, so to speak, optimistic pessimist. am i right?

    luckily, first i don’t have the money to do that. second i’m of too much sense to be that spendthrift, despite being an average “white-collar”.

    i live in shanghai, have been to beijing only once. pls do mail me when you’re in town so that i can see for real that there’s a guy who speaks chinese like an bookish old scholar in 30s. hey, i’m give you applause here. indeed, your linguistic skills put my english to shame. i love english, yet i have to admit my english isn’t as idiomatic as your chinese..

    oh,about this blog of yours. hmmm, i do agree it’s absurd for people to pay a high price to eat in a dark restaurant, and it’s not gorgeous food, even; just a tiny portion of meat&vegetables..

    Saturday, March 17, 2007 at 9:57 pm #
  15. baimor wrote::


    Sunday, March 18, 2007 at 11:14 pm #

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