Friday, September 15, 2006

"authentic Pan-Asian street food"

September 15

I wouldn't have noticed today's featured stupid press release at all if it hadn't invoked the name of NoPa, the little section of San Francisco just north of the panhandle of Golden Gate Park where my good friends Craig and Susan Stuart live. I sent the release to Craig without reading it, thinking, regardless of what it said, that he'd enjoy hearing about a new restaurant in his neighborhood. Craig made thoughtful observations about the place, of which he was already familiar and where he had picked up Asian chicken salad for his babysitter, but he hadn't eaten there himself yet.
I gave the release another look.
Here's how it release starts: "A trek North of the Panhandle now doubles as a tropical getaway ... where enlightenment seekers are revitalizing their spirits through authentic Pan-Asian street food, holistic teas, and eclectic music."
To be fair, south of the panhandle is hippie mecca Haight-Ashbury, so if people are starting there, perhaps they are trekkers seeking enlightenment, but the release, of a restaurant that claims to be Balinese and declares that it's serving "authentic Pan-Asian street food," goes on to talk about the Balinese concept of duality and quotes one of the owners, whose surname sounds Indonesian, so he could be Balinese, as saying his eatery (and tea lounge, don't forget the tea lounge) "is more than just a restaurant, it's a notion of living."
I mean, come on.
And how can you be Balinese and authentically Pan-Asian at the same time? How can you be authentically Pan-Asian? Is that like Continental, only a different continent?
Craig and I worked together in Thailand for five years and did a fair amount of traveling during that time and so we are, oh, let's say skeptical, of claims of authenticity at any restaurants trying to invoke pretty much anything Asian. But Craig, being a better person than I, and of much more generous character, was willing to reserve judgment on the food's quality.
But what kind of chicken salad does a Pan-Asian eat? And what's Balinese about it?

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