I ventured into Chinatown today. I thought it might be a good idea to get "sio bao" or "bao zi" (BBQ pork buns) before I picked up A from an overnight. I knew if I drove down Stockton I would find a bakery.
Wing Sing (not to be confused with Yank Sing) had beautiful baked and steamed buns for 80 cents! They're like giant, pillowy, Chinese Hot Pockets. I tried desperately to use my Mandarin in the heavily Cantonese environment.
"Liou ge bao zi," I ordered, holding up my hand in the universal six sign. It looks like the "Hang loose!" gesture with less shaking.
As one woman wrapped by food, another asked me something in Chinese. I repeated what I had said, thinking that lady #2 was the one running the cash register. Nope -- they use gloves to pick up the buns AND collect the dollar bills. So lady #2 was very annoyed with me and started complaining to her coworkers in Chinese.
I left the shop, clutching my neatly bundled Pepto-Bismol-pink box, with my head hung down in shame.