So there are two things that I usually pay attention to when I’m out eating.

Most important for me is how the food tastes. Second most important is how easy it is to get that food (which loosely falls under the service aspects).

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Batch 1: Pork and cabbage
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Batch 2: Beef and celery
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The dumplings here are ok, but not ultimately that special.

We ordered a set of pork and cabbage and a set of beef and celery dumplings, and a set of wontons in chili oil. I was aiming for some proper wontons with mixed pork and shrimp filling, but they were out, so we stuck to pure pork.

All of the dumplings were fried and crispy on the bottom. The wontons were thrown into a mix of light chili oil and light sesame paste, topped with a bit of spinach. The chili oil didn’t really have that much flavor of its own.

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The menu; and also, Microsoft’s emoji representation of a dumpling is at best a pierogi and at worst an empanada.
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The service side was downright overworked and totally stressed out. I’ve seen this show before.

Common stuff was made hard, easy stuff was made hard.

  • For instance, the person ahead of us asked for a receipt and the owner had to go into the back office to get a pad of paper and a business stamp before writing out a receipt by hand, stamping, and handing it over. No cash register? No problem.

    This took about 5 minutes and just left us all standing there waiting to get something done that could have just been a button press. It means that my friend and I were standing around for probably ten minutes in an otherwise empty imbiss before we could even place an order and sit down.

  • We’d taken out a few drinks from the refrigerator before the owner had cashed out the previous order. In her state of agitation (I’ve not seen someone this stressed out in a while), she added it implicitly to the previous person’s tab without asking.

    When she realized what she’d done after the person left, and this is something I really hate, she did a lot of gesticulating about how she thought the drinks had belonged to the other person and didn’t realize that they were part of our order. And this and that, and this and that.

  • Then she proceeded to charge us as well for the drinks. Fair enough, the restaurant biz is hard, and it wouldn’t be fair for us to have gotten a free drink off of her mistake, but still…​ kind of weird. The American in me thinks I would have said something like "Enjoy your drinks guys, they’re on him.", while pointing to the imaginary person that had just left, and laughed and moved on.

    What I would not have done, which is exactly what happened, was then for us to go through 5 minutes of the owner trying to explain how she’d made the mistake we had all just witnessed and then proceeding to throw the drinks onto our tab anyways.

Overall, I hate it when I feel like I’m wasting my time because someone can’t get their shit together. If you have one, you can generate a receipt from Orderbird among about a million other not-that-expensive point-of-sale systems.

In fact, it’s a bit suspicious when I don’t see automation here and instead see a hand-filled receipt. And, realistically, having a legit and itemized receipt would have immediately pointed out that she’d sold drinks to someone who hadn’t ordered them. But at this point, zero recourse for that person.

So yeah, I’m not going back. As in diffusion or osmosis, there’s a certain level of agitation that transfers itself to me after dining like this. And I hate it.

I see someone who is stressed out and mismanaging things to the point that they are not enjoying it and I am not enjoying it (because I’m probably starting to get hangry by that point, anyways). And it reminds me of all of the Chinese restaurants I’ve ever been in, where they are short-staffed.

I’m not saying the owner is a bad person or anything like that, it’s just that between going to her restaurant and going to one where I won’t feel annoyed for a large part of the time — I’ll just as likely make my way over to Wok Show instead.

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Garlic and oil
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Added wontons and chili oil
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Close up of wontons and chili oil
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Closer up of wonton