When mulling over lunch options I look for three things:
1. Maximum caloric intake for under 35rmb
2. Minimal human contact with waiters, co-workers, friends, family, and people in general
3. Something that won't make my insides feel like angry death within an hour of consuming it
Alas, often is the case in which one of these three criteria is sacrificed to satisfy the other two. Fast food, while a cheap and happily solitary experience -- I like the point-order system in lieu of the rigors of conversation and love the politics of it -- unfortunately ends up making one feel quite like shite in the 4pm-6pm death march.
These days, the more I eat Big Macs and KFC "Spice, No Spice? No Spice." Chicken Sandwiches, the more I've really come to taste the pain and misery from which they are engendered. You can really taste the suffering; you really can. It's like a hot, congealed, blood-and-mayonaise kind of flavor. Look for it.
So there's this place called El Mexicano
-- maybe you know about it, maybe you don't. They meet all the aforementioned criteria. More specifically, the Number 12 from their menu meets all the criteria. (Ed note: Due to a menu re-design, the Number 12 is actually the Number 15 these days.
) El Mexicano is like a Mexican restaurant, which I gather is a pretty popular thing to be these days. I have no background in Mexican food nor do I care to develop one. Authentic? Inauthentic? Californian style? Tex Mex? Traditional? Contemporary? I don't know. I don't give a shit. It's not in the criteria.
Is it cheap? Yes. Do you have to deal with lots of people? No. Just one guy on the phone. (I don't make eye contact with the delivery guy.) Will it make you feel like you've just ingested raccoon meat marinated in toxic waste?
No. It's pretty alright actually.
The Number 12, I don't even know what the name of this thing is anymore. It's the Number 12. It's like a... well, it comes in three sections, with your main course thing being like a... a chicken burrito-taco-whatever-wrap type thing. There's chicken in it and a taco-like breaded layering wrap thing. Then it's covered in melted cheese, tomato paste, and there's some sour cream on top. It's quite good. The next compartment has like... Mexican rice or whatever and a dollop of re-fried beans. Very nice. Then the last compartment is like a salad with a ranch dressing or whatever.
The salad kind of tastes like they've been buying it in bulk, leftover from a Thanksgiving dinner at an old folk's home but it's still pretty good. I still eat it. To keep healthy.
Total damage with their absurdly minimal delivery is under 40rmb.
Here's an important, extra-special tip: extra sour cream is 5rmb. Get it. It's worth it.
There you go. The Number 12 from El Mexicano. Here's the full menu
. Here's the ordering number: 400 820 1336. Eat it.