The Worm – A Poem Dedicated to Chinese Restaurants; or, The Only Time its OK to Be a Vegetarian

From your great land, that is so large
Many types of cuisines have sprung
But yet with all this variety
It still doesn’t sit well with my tongue

It seems that here in America,
We get the worst that you anoint.
Because nothing makes me more grossed out,
Than a shady Chinese joint.

We’ve heard the rumors of stir fried cat
And of dog meat served a-plenty
I don’t want to believe these stories
Of which there are at least twenty

So why, oh why, dear China King,
dear Great Wall Inn Buffet,
Do you not try harder to declare innocence?
And instead validate what they say?

For starters, lets try a little thing
Called location, location, location;
A city basement is not the best real estate,
For your highly skilled vocation.

With rats that do scamper, and garbage that does pile,
And a floor that’s perennially slimy
The health inspector will surely fail
Your attempt at dining finely

Keep it clean! Well lit, and smelling fresh!
I beg of you, it gets so disgusting,
When everything’s wet and smells of mold
And your piping is quietly rusting.

Then comes the issue of menu choices,
And sticking to what you know.
If I wanted ribs, chicken or subs,
To a deli I would go.

How can I trust that your chef in the back,
Can my quest for authenticity appease?
When his only qualifications for this post,
Is that he appears to be vaguely Chinese?

A catfish sandwich and egg foo young
Do no ingredients share.
So how do you keep all the components fresh?
And ready to prepare?

Let’s address another issue
That to me is truly offensive,
The all-you-can eat Chinese Buffet,
Puts my intestines on the defensive.

With vats – yes vats! – Of mystery meat,
In lukewarm congealed sauces,
I’d rather drink a fountain soda,
And simply cut my losses.

I can’t stress just how upsetting it is,
Mass quantities are rarely made well.
An all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet,
Is the only restaurant in Hell.

Now I know we’ve all had chicken before,
The texture is smooth, yet firm.
So for good god’s sake, why is my General Tso’s
The consistency of a worm?

Its slimy, it’s grainy, it doesn’t make sense,
How can those two textures co-mingle?
The only explanation is that around its furry neck,
There once was a bell that did jingle.

Beef, though better, is still not good,
Since when was flank steak gamey?
Or rough, or tough, or sort of gray,
It makes me dry heave lamely.

But Becca, you say – its so convenient
To sit on your couch and order in.
I agree, I agree, I’ve done it too,
And therein lies the sin.

To order Chinese and not want to hurl
I’ll get soup and rice and broccoli.
Thereby allowing this damn restaurant,
To make a VEGETARIAN out of me!

The horror! The shame! The un-ending guilt!
Its enough to make me cry.
And put on my ‘Birks, and hug a tree,
And ask you people why.

So Chinese food, you’ve beat me down,
My taste buds are no match for you.
I hope you’re happy, Chinese food -
Now pass the stir-fried tofu.


2 Birds, 1 Blog: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

"I can’t stress just how upsetting it is,
Mass quantities are rarely made well.
An all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet,
Is the only restaurant in Hell."

I want you to write a post on what you're hell is. it always makes me laugh and involves an amusement park.

ps: sorry i awkwardly rushed the goodbye when i called you today. i saw someone from high school and got all awkward and ran away. typical. i hate living here!

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