Menu Roulette

Suntory - Sushi Boat


About thirty years ago, my friends and I played a game called menu roulette.  The rules were simple, when the ship arrived in a foreign port we would make our way far enough from the harbour that the local eateries did not cater to Western tastes, and the menus were seldom in English.

The four of us would then point to a random place on the menu.  We would not ask for translation, nor would we accept explanation. When the food arrived (no matter what it looked like) the orderer had to taste it. If they did not like it, the plates would be passed to the left (sometimes robbing another orderer of something yummy).  No dish could make the trip back to the original taster.  If anyone did not finish the food they were left with, then that individual had to pay the bill for the whole table.

Dishes which included sea cucumber, chickens with feet on, and mystery meats were all consumed.  One memorable meal turned out to be pizza with squid and octopus.  How’s that for fusion?  Only once did any of us get food poisoning.  This was a really exciting time for young men abroad for the first time in the Far East, and it was a great way the get a taste (pun intended) of other cultures.