How a Bank­rupt Foodie Finds a Way Out


Special Focus - - Contents - Gong Chang 弓长

Back in the day there was a Shang­hainese man named Shen Jingsi who was so fond of eat­ing that he spent all his in­her­i­tance on food alone. He prac­ti­cally sold his prop­erty and land just to par­take of an­other tasty morsel or two.

He was so keen on eat­ing that he be­came “the un­crowned king” in the food in­dus­try and gained quite a rep­u­ta­tion in so­ci­ety at large. When fa­mous chefs from the north or south went to Shang­hai to pur­sue their culi­nary ca­reer, they might not care to see other peo­ple, but Mr. Shen was a must-see per­son.

Later Mr. Shen lost it all and was des­ti­tute, but had no skills other than eat­ing. He went out to ap­ply for a job and was asked, “What can you do?”

He an­swered promptly, “I know how to eat.”

So peo­ple re­ported to Mayor Chen Yi, say­ing that there was a per­son with no skills other than an un­par­al­leled ex­per­tise at the art of eat­ing, the ques­tion was posed what job he would be fit for?

The lat­ter replied, “This man with a vo­ra­cious ap­petite gourmet cui­sine must be quite a fel­low. Spend­ing your en­tire life on food and eat­ing your­self out of house and home is not an easy thing to do. Let him work as a pro­fes­sional dish taster in the Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Restau­rant.”

From then on, the Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Restau­rant boasted ex­cep­tional qual­ity dishes, which was i nex­tri­ca­bly linked to Mr. Shen’s finicky sen­si­bil­i­ties. He was paid a monthly salary of ap­prox­i­mately 200 yuan for his ser­vices, a very high salary at the time he took the job.

( From Life­andPeo­ple , Is­sue 19, 2017. Trans­la­tion: Lu Qiongyao)

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