Overheard at the Taco Truck

I went to the taco truck for lunch today, and had the following conversation (translated sloppily from the original Spanish).


me: Three… with chicken…  and some rice, please.

cashier kid: Chicken and rice?

No, three chicken tacos, with some rice on the side.  Because Filipinos don’t know how to eat without rice.

Honduran girl: You’re right, Ecuadorans are like that.  If there’s no rice, it’s not eating.

Ecuadoran lady:  Who’s Filipino?  Ooh, those Filipinos eat that egg.  That egg that has the little half developed creature inside.  The first time I saw it I was horrified.  It’s like a fetus, like you’re eating a baby that’s growing, but it’s dead and you eat it.  What do you call that?

me: We call that “balut.”  So, did you eat it?

Ecuadoran lady: Yes, I ate it up. and it was delicious.  But when I first saw it I was horrified.

me: You ate it!  Even I’ve never eaten it.

Ecuadoran lady:  Yes, I ate it.   It was delicious.  What kind of egg is it anyway?

me: It’s a duck egg.

Ecuadoran lady: Duck!  And you have those little fried rolls, what do you call those?

me: We call those “lumpia.”

Ecuadoran lady:  Delicious.  When I went to dinner at the Filipino people’s house we had those, the egg, the baby egg, and then some shrimp.  Pure cholesterol.  It was delicious but when I stood up I felt dizzy.  No, no, no… pure cholesterol.

me: That’s right.  When you go to Filipino party you don’t have to drink.  And we don’t dance.  We just overeat.

Ecuadoran lady: You eat!  There’s no dancing or drinking.  You eat!  And you sing that karaoke!

me: Oh my goodness, this woman knows my people.  You’re all Ecuadoran here?

Ecuadoran lady: Yes, except the girl, she’s Honduran…

me: And don Roberto…

Ecuadoran lady:  Yes, Roberto is from the place where they wake up at five and go to bed at one.

me: They work hard.

Ecuadoran lady:  Sheesh, they work hard.  The song says “como México, no hay dos” (there’s nothing like Mexico)

don Roberto (to cashier kid):   He wants everything but guacamole.  He’s been here before.

Ecuadoran lady: You been here before?

me: Yes, this is day three.

Ecuadoran lady: What do you mean day three?

me: I came here yesterday and the day before.  I’m so glad you opened because trying to get tacos in Manhattan…

don Roberto:  Yes… On Friday we’ll have fish tacos, for Good Friday.

me:  Fish tacos!

cashier kid: That’s $8.  Thank you.

me: When will you start serving Filipino food?

Ecuadoran lady: You mean that egg, what’s it called?

me: Balut.

Ecuadoran lady: Balut, the eggs of the Filipnos (los huevos de los filipinos)

me: oh no! ma’am Filipinos have the other eggs too, the regular kind.

Ecuadoran lady: Ay!  … the duck eggs that Filipinos eat!  Not the huevos of the Filipinos themselves!

me: Oh my goodness, I’ll see you tomorrow.


Ay, los  latinos… no no no.  No conversation is complete until somebody gets sexually harrassed.

2 thoughts on “Overheard at the Taco Truck

  1. Dear JP,

    Mexicans almost always have rice with every meal. Some of us have just gotten lazy, or embarrassed. You know, it’s that Spanish thing, rice. When I was in Boston, I noticed that the Boricua and Cubans had rice with almost all their meals, too. The New York Times had an article some time back on how rice cookers could be used for all sorts of foods–there were comments from lots of nationalities on how to cook “their” rice. Maybe more useful than other kitchen appliances–who knew?

    Anyhow–¡Feliz Pascua!!


    Lucy Medina (soon to be Mom of former Prep students)


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