Posted from: Beijing, China
“B?” Diana said. “I dunno, you sure you wanna eat here?” We were standing outside of an Indian restaurant over on Fairfax Ave staring at the health department sanitary-rating sign in the window. “You wanna gag on a hair halfway through your curry?”
“Not only want, need. I need to gag on a hair. This place has been serving all my hair-gagging needs since 2001.”
“Alright, alright, Jeesus.”
Yeah, see I don’t know if they do this anywhere outside of California, but several years ago certain counties decided to implement a policy whereby restaurants are required to display their hygienic grading on a placard in the front of the place. They get A, B or C, depending on bribe money, acceptable levels of vomit in the deep fryer, that sort of thing.
They deduct points for things like employees without hairnets or wearing dirty gloves and undercooked food or ingredients stored at less than optimal temperatures.
Now it seems that China, these days never far behind, has taken up the food safety reigns and added their own unique twist.
Restaurants in Beijing can be cited for any number of consumer-safety violations such as adding salt, failure to re-use cooking oil, and non-compliance with rodent right-to-life legislation. My university dining hall, in response to allegations that it may be refrigerating food, quelled public concern by storing several hundred heads of lettuce outside, near the canteen’s main entrance, allowing for joint or individual buyer inspection prior to meal purchase.
“Leaving the lettuce out of doors for a prolonged period, especially on the ground, is proof of our strict adherence to the new regulations,” said Mr. Li, chief cook at the canteen. “I think it’s wonderful that university administration has provided us with the resources to store our vegetables so close to their natural habitat.”
Mr. Li, who does not wash his bath towels on the premise that he is already clean when he steps out of the shower, went on to say, “Cigarette butts have long been hailed as an effective and natural preservative, lending dishes a pleasant, smoky flavor previously only attainable by advanced food-burning techniques.”
“We plan to continue to provide only the best in affordable, quality meals for our students,” he promised, wiping a booger onto a plate.
University management has been unavailable for comment.