1P100W #83 – Is It Really Good?

The above picture shows a semi-decent pork burger, but that’s not what I’m talking about today.

I sometimes get asked: how to tell if an American is being polite or being truthful when they say something is delicious. Not to be too stereotypical here, but based on my scientifically unproven observations so far:

If they like the food, they will quickly go “Wow! This stuff is great!” without you asking. That’s good news.

If they say nothing and you have to ask “How? The food good ah?” and they say “Yeah, it’s not bad…”, don’t take that response literally. They’re just being polite. Don’t bring them here again.

[108 words]


  1. Same here la.. I just bought online something from someone.. If I want again, you no need remind me or ask me do anything also, I will post a review or whatsapp again to re-order.. If I keep quiet, means the product not so good lor. Some sellers even ask me “eh, can u write a review in FB and like my page”.. (*potong stim*)

  2. But I think this applies to Malaysians as well, no? At least it applies to me. If the food is good, I’ll tell it straight to the host or to anyone without even being asked.

    But if you NEED to ask if the food is good, and I answer, “Oh yeah, it is” then u know it is not lah. LoL!

  3. Look at that cheese. It looks amazing and I hope it tasted great. I am such a sucker for cheese, especially melted cheese 🙄

    I don’t know if that stereotype applies to just Americans. It will depend on the person. If it was really terrible, I think the face will be a dead giveaway. Of course if the food is good it will usually be gone fast 🙄

    • I’m writing about my experience, and my experience does not involve Australian work counterparts. I don’t know either. And you’ve just reminded me of something. Americans are bloody good actors. The Americans I worked with anyway. Their faces give nothing away. Nothing at all! 😐

  4. I know Americans are polite, but I’ve heard that Germans are more honest. If they don’t like the dish, they’ll tell you straight that they hate the dish. I’m not sure with the Australians; it’s always been my Aussie friends bringing me to cafes and stuff. I’ll be sure to let you know if I’m recommending cafes to them. 🙂

    I’d say that it depends on some people too. When I last went out with a friend, he didn’t ask me how the dish was. I think he sorta knew that I’ll growl if the food wasn’t tasty, lol.

    • I think most people did not get my context with this post. My fault, I’m doing 100 words so there’s not too much in depth elaboration. The situation that I had in mind does not apply to close friends. 😐

  5. Most people would be polite and not say the food is not good especially if they are not so well acquainted with you. For me, if something is outstanding, I will express pleasure and if not that great, I keep quiet. If asked, depends how well I know you. If close family members or friends I will say so that it is not good. Some more will give critique 😀 😀 😀

    • Imagine if you get brought back to the same (screw up) place again and again, just because you were being polite and kept quiet. How long can you stay quiet then? 😛

  6. hahahaa..They are being courteous.. if Chinese, what do we say.. if the food is not good, I will say.. Mar.. mar only… that means so so… if food is good, I will say..”I’ll be BACK!!”

  7. Haha, don’t bring Americans for burgers, pizzas and steaks….they have eaten way better burgers, pizzas and steaks! ;D Take them to our local food which they would much prefer, I think. Also that way you can confuse their taste buds with something they’re not used to eating, so making a judgement is more difficult….wakakaka!! 😀

    Jokes aside, even if a friend recommends a place and I find it not that great, I will tell it as it is…that’s how I write my blog anyway.

    • Now here’s where you’re wrong. Not all Americans prefer our local food. Just like some Chinese Malaysians who could not survive without rice, there are some Americans who could not survive without food that looks familiar to them. Usually this is true for the older folks, which is same as us.

      • From my experience, there are some adventurous westerners and some not adventurous ones when it comes to food. When my NZ ex-colleague came to KL for two weeks, when on his own, he will only drink coca cola and eat pizza and subway sandwiches for the whole two weeks.

        I brought him to eat chicken curry mee and local chicken rice and I watched him suffered as he painstakingly ate all the roast chicken meat and left all the rice and for curry, splashed curry gravy all over his t-shirts. After that whenever I suggest curry mee for lunch, he says no. He plain refused to try assam laksa and any other food and he doesn’t like to eat more than one spoonful of rice. I think he cursed me silently under his breath, hahahaha.

        Oh, and he is only 20 years old and so not adventurous when it comes to food.

        • And he’s not the only one. There really are some Americans, or should I say people in general, who would not want to embrace food that is alien to them. Sometimes they would say: “I want to try local food”, but they actually meant local burgers or local pasta instead of bak kut teh or nasi kandar.

          Actually when I wrote this piece, I had these people in mind. I am specifically writing this as an advice piece for Malaysian employees who might have to bring American colleagues out for a meal or two. Of course it applies in many situations, but those situations were not in my mind when I wrote this. I’m kind of frustrated because I had to answer a lot of unexpected comments, even more so because it is due to my oversight and lack of explaining. This should not have been a 100 word post…

          • When I say take them to local food…we also have to be selective (and not any local food) but local food that they’re probably more accustomed to or would probably enjoy, the more popular ones like maybe nasi lemak, satay, chicken rice, char kway teow, dim sum, roti canai, banana leaf rice (especially Indian food which they seem to like). I’d certainly not try to bring them for curry mee, assam laksa, prawn mee (these robust flavours are for the more adventurous, I think).

            • Oh, the place I brought my NZ ex-colleague sells very tasty nasi lemak, char kway teow and all the tasty local fares too and he himself chose curry mee out of the lot and refused to try nasi lemak since like I said he does not like to eat rice, hahaha! Imagine he don’t even like the chicken rice. All he wanted are Pizzas and Subway sandwiches.

  8. So many generalisations guys. You can’t just sweep the entire population of a country into one group stereotype. Communication is complex, but great discussion point.

    • I know, but I’m on a 100 words count, and I did say “based on my scientifically unproven observations” didn’t I? Don’t take me too seriously… 😉

  9. I just encountered this, what a coincidence, my friend asked me if the food of the restaurant she recommended is good, being polite I said not bad even though the food does not taste good

    • Actually human interaction and communication is not that straightforward and direct, there are some complications because we humans are complex and tend to overthink at times, sometimes we are afraid to tell our true opinions if they are different from our friends’ opinions

    • You shouldn’t do that if she is a close friend. You should be honest. We don’t want friends who like to fake it. If I end up bringing you to a bullshit place again and again and again when you actually hated it, it will be bad for our friendship long term. 🙄

  10. I tink is jst not American….I’d say generally it applies to most Asians too. But one thing exceptional is Japanese which are super polite, I tink they never express negative review when someone brings them or treat them a meal. They are too polite to even being shy when the host ask them to decide on what to eat.

    • Huh… maybe for people outside Tokyo. My experience working with Tokyo people indicates that they are not as rigid as we thought when it comes to non-work related things… 🙄

  11. I think what you said could be applied to most acquaintances, friends, distance relatives and colleagues. The only exception is very good friends and close family who will say it as it is if they don’t like the food you recommend. Most people will be polite since they don’t want you to feel bad for recommending food to them that they don’t like.

    • Ah, I guess for locals even when they like it, they would keep quiet until you ask so you can’t tell whether they genuinely like it or are just being polite. This is because locals do not like to express themselves, maybe.

      Whereas Westerners are more open to express themselves so if they like it, they will say it first but if they keep quiet, then only say it is ok when you ask then most probably they don’t like it. I agree with your observation for Westerners.

    • I never thought about it that way, hmm.. I suppose you are right. I guess this is because I don’t interact much with distant friends and relatives. Like, even if I don’t like a place that they brought me to, chances are I won’t be seeing them (meaning, coming back) again anytime soon, so being polite does not affect me anyway.

      The thing that triggers me to say what I said is because you know some of us sometimes work with American colleagues who will periodically come here for business trips, and they said “so-and-so restaurant is good” once, and the locals take them literally, so they end up being brought to the same place again and again and again every time they come.

      Like, a steakhouse for example. There’s this place which even us locals think is crap, but somehow years ago, some locals brought the Americans there once and they said it was good (it wasn’t), so it became “Eh! The Americans love this steakhouse! Put it in our list, shortlist this place, we’ll bring them here next time, all the time!”.

      • I think for politeness once is more than enough. No one, no matter how polite they are, Americans or not will agree to go back to a place where the food is no good for more food even if they say the food is ok the first time that they were there due to politeness. If they keep quiet, I will say serve them right for eating bad food again since they keep quiet, hahahaha.

        • That’s what’s happening to some of the more senior Americans who travel here, because they are usually hosted by manager level locals who are supposed to be more higher positioned than them in the corporate ladder. Maybe that fact stopped them from pointing out, ever. So they have to suck it. I don’t want to laugh at them, so.. I say… tough luck…

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