Wednesday, August 7, 2013

the most epic journey for Chinese food delivery

What do you do when you're craving Chinese food takeout...but you live in a remote Arctic community where the only Chinese guy you know is often asking you for cooking tips?*

*nobody should ever ask me for cooking tips.

Well, you make it happen. You live in the North, so you learn to survive. You make it happen by ordering it from the closest Chinese restaurant, no matter how far that ends up being.

this is how far my Chinese food travelled to get to my mouth

It turned out that the closest Chinese restaurant was in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. Yup, 853 kilometes (530 miles) and in another territory.   I mean, when you live in Ottawa, Ontario, you'll drive to a gas station in Quebec so you can buy beer on a holiday, so crossing provincial borders to please the tummy is not unheard of. And yes, one time I rode twenty kilometres on my bike in the rain with another girl on my back because her bike had broken, just to get to the only Korean restaurant in all of Amsterdam. But this was a new precedent in my quest for Asian food.

Chinese food menu

We ordered our Chinese Food from the Gold Range Bistro, a name that does not have any hint of Chinese-ness to it, unless you are alert to the Chinese fondness towards things that are gold. But to be fair, we're talking about Yellowknife - at some point, everyone was really into gold.

(For me though, "Gold Range" invokes a telescoped combination of my two favourite Pavement songs off the Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain album, "Gold Soundz" and "Range Life")

gold soundz

range life

The ordering part was just like any other Chinese food order. On the phone, we picked the items that we wanted off the menu, and then, because I am Asian, I ordered my favourite dishes off the menu.  The restaurant did indeed have my special requests, which was a good sign, because every self-respecting Chinese restaurant knows that Asians love ordering off the menu.

But then, instead of packing the delivery into a Honda Civic and driving it to our door, they sent our order to the airport. And then flew it on a plane.  And then we picked it up at the airport.  And then heated it up again in the oven, because our food had just travelled the equivalent distance of Toronto to the state of Virginia.

Toronto to the state of Virginia

Afterwards, in my state of feeling satisfied and full (at least for the next half an hour), I reflected on what a glorious age we live in, that I can call up a Chinese restaurant in another territory and have them delivery beef with black bean sauce to me by airplane.  To be fair, when you live in a remote place, you get used to pulling stunts like this.  My friends have driven the eighteen hours from Cape Town, South Africa to Windhoek, Namibia in order to bring home a bag of Big Macs (Namibia does not have a McDonalds). It's quite normal for folks to grab a big box of Tim Horton's donuts to bring on the plane from Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay. And now, for only a $50 shipping fee, I can get Chinese fried squid brought to my door.*  The whole concept may make a younger "Eat Local" Gloria disapprove, but it's great to know my options.

*but someone needs to pick it up from the airport first.