Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Really? Avocado on your sandwich?"

Today, when my kids were finally down for their short nap, I was able to head out for a quick bite to eat at one of our school's 6 cafes. They're called cafes, that's right. Not cafeterias. You get served food on nice, colored plates. And some of the cafes have the most beautiful decor. I'll post photos sometime.

But that's not my point.

I decided to head to the Middle School Gaja Madah building. (Our buildings have names, not designations. You'll understand when you see the photos.) This building has traditional Indonesian decor, and the cafe serves Indonesian dishes in addition to the regular pastas, rice/chicken dishes, salad bar etc.

I wanted a grilled chicken panini.

Then I noticed avocado on display. "Ah! Could you add some avocado to that, please?" I politely asked.

"Avocado? You want avocado on your sandwich?"

"Yes, please." (I thought maybe the avocado was just part of a display, judging from the response.)

"The avocado is for juice bar. Not sandwich."

"Yes, but can I please have avocado on my sandwich?" I smiled. And thought how utterly unappealing an avocado drink is to me!

(Lots of talk among the Indonesian serving staff. And some frowns. And some shaking of heads, as in, "You bules* are very strange!")

The lady carefully put a couple of slices on my bread, and minutes later, I had the perfect panini. But as I sat at the Balinese-style table, enjoying my sandwich, I caught all the wait staff staring strangely at me... I smiled again, gave them a thumbs up, and gulped down the last few bites before rushing back to my crazy little kids.

Funny, isn't it, how some customs (or foods) seem oh-so-strange when transferred from one culture to another.

I cannot help but wonder if you've ever encountered something similar. Please share!

* Bule is the Indonesian term for gringo. Or waiguoren. Or crazy white people. :)

1 comment:

  1. In China, tomatoes are considered a fruit. A Chinese person brought a chocolate cake to a celebration complete with sliced tomatoes on top!