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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

No Language Barrier Here

I went to a Chinese restaurant with Laura for lunch today. Why did I go? I've complained about the food to friends and family but when it's convenient, cheap and quick, I can't do too much squealing. This time though I thought I do a bit of documentation.

While we were waiting for our food to arrive, the hostess comes over to our table and asks me if I am Chinese. I tell her "yes." She then asks me if I speak Chinese, I tell her "yes" but quickly interject that I speak Cantonese. I try to chat with her but there is a definite language barrier. She tried to understand me and repeats, in Cantonese, a few of the things I say like: "Oh, you speak Cantonese."

After the introduction we begin to talk about the differences between Cantonese food and other Chinese cuisines, except this time we are speaking in Italian. She asks me where I am from, about my parents, my siblings and my life in Italy. Then she started counting from one to ten in Cantonese, I obliged her and counted from one to ten in Mandarin. By the end of the meal, the language barrier was gone. Italian ruled over both Mandarin and Cantonese. I never thought the day would come in which for me Italian would be the bridge between two Chinese people. What an interesting day.

Here are some typical Chinese dishes, in Italy that is.

The spring rolls or involtini primavera were fried rolls with mostly cabbage, shredded carrots and a bit of either minced pork or chicken inside. They were quite large, thick and folded into a rectangular pillowish shape. I cut mine in half to let them cool, then ate them with sweet and sour sauce or salsa agrodolce.

This is hot and sour soup. It looked a bit dark and contained the following, wood ears, tofu, bamboo shoots, preserved Chinese cabbage aka zanzai, minced pork, and mushrooms.

Cantonese fried rice, with peas, diced ham and egg.

Mung bean threads aka spaghetti di soia, sauteed with red peppers in a spicy sauce.

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At 1:42 PM, Blogger Trish said...

Looks so yummy!

That's so cool that you speak Italian, are you fluent? Did you take classes or did you pick it up while living there?

Thanks for sharing the photos!

At 2:10 PM, Blogger H. (aka. NC_State_Gal) said...

I think that it is interesting how languages can build barriers and in this case can breakdown barriers, as well.

Oh...your photos always make me hungry *stomach grumbling*

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Sara said...

The soup looks pretty thick. Those eggrolls are huge! I'm not a big fan of the cabbage ones anyway, and those don't look too appetizing. You didn't talk about taste at all. How was it?

At 4:05 PM, Blogger american girl in italy said...

I am SO craving some good chinese or thai food! :OP

At 9:16 AM, Blogger L said...

I know that Asians live all across the world, but it is interesting to read the interaction between two Chinese in Italy, of all places.

I am very hungry now! The mung bean noodles look very similar to a Korean noodle dish called japchae.

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous KarenM said...

Your food pictures look good enough to eat! Tell me what camera you use to get such excellent pictures, please.


At 10:59 PM, Anonymous trench said...

The fried rice looks soo good!

At 1:29 AM, Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

It all looks so wonderful! I wish I could find a good chinese place to eat at around here. So far all the ones I have tried are just so so.



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