Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Chinese Doughnut?

Just for kicks I googled my all-time favorite Chinese waiter the other day. I knew that he had been immortalized by Herb Caen in the SF Chronicle, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the internets contain a variety of fond memories of the man that had the title, "the rudest waiter in the world", Edsel Ford Fong.

Edsel waited tables at Sam Wo's in San Francisco's Chinatown. The restaurant was probably ten feet wide at most, you entered through the kitchen and went up the stairs that brought you to several dining floors. If you knew how it worked and wanted to truly get the Sam Wo's experience, you asked for Edsel's floor. As soon as you were seated, the floor show would begin. Edsel would yell at you, insult you, throw his pencil and pad on the table and bully you into writing down your own order. Insulting him in return was expected, even encouraged.

The food was greasy and really nothing special, but Edsel's entertainment value made it an experience you would never forget.

In my little bit of research, I sadly discovered that Edsel has gone to the Chinese restaurant in the sky some years ago. Sam Wo's is still there.

Some interesting essays on Sam Wo's and Edsel.

AT&T park, home of my San Francisco Giants has a restaurant named for Edsel Ford Fong (scroll down to Food and Beverages).

AAA's Via magazine features Sam Wo's in their San Francisco food tour. Strangely enough as a breakfast stop.

Views by the Bay Blog has some pictures accompanying a post on Sam Wo's.

A nice description of what it was like to be served by Edsel can be found at Fudcourt.