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Restaurant Observation

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Topics: Islam, Muslim
Merina Shrestha
SOCI-1301-83008
Dr. Michael Itashiki
21 March 2015
An experience at A Pakistani Restaurant
I am international student from Nepal. I recently visited a Pakistani Restaurant, BBQ King in Richardson, Texas. I come from a county where 81.3% of the total population is Hindu, so going to a Muslim Restaurant was a new experience for me. It was a one story restaurant with booths on two sides of the wall and group tables on the middle where group of eight people can sit. The wall had Urdu written picture on the walls of the restaurant. I had vague idea about what to expect. I found this restaurant on internet and decided to have my research here because this was Desi closest restaurant by my apartment.
Arrival
I arrived at BBQ King Restaurant around 2pm and after taking a train to Spring Valley Station and walking for 20 minutes to get there. The restaurant is situated right next to the shell gas station and right across the First Chinese BBQ in Richardson. A waitress greeted me and I sat on the third booth. The setting was normal there were mostly families there as well as college students there. The waitress brought me plates, salad, a glass and a jug of water. She asked I was ready to order which I was not so I told her to give me a few minutes. I was looking at the menu when I noticed that majority of the people in English, while some were speaking in Urdu, Arabic and Hindi. The atmosphere there was relaxing with local channels on a TV on one side and the picture of food on TV on both side of another TV with Pakistani news there. The buffet table was on the front of the restaurant right below the TV with local channel on it. The waitress was Indian who was a college student when I asked her if waitressing the only thing she did and I also found out from conversation I overheard everyone working there were Pakistani except for one Mexican.
Observations
All the while I was observing I found that most people who came there knew the chef and the owner. They would come and ask for them to be called before they order anything. These people would mostly be larger group of friends or families. They also had books and CDs on the front that people were allowed to take if they wanted which were related to Muslim religion. Most women who came there wore hajiba (scarf that covers their head and neck except for their face) over their head or they wore burkha (black gown that covers everything except for the eyes). The Arabic customers would order food to be mild and majority of the Pakistani people would order food to be spicy. While White Americans would mistake this restaurant as an American BBQ majority of the time and some who came would order food in mild. The food does take time and I was warned so I was prepared to wait. However there was this particular older man who was creating a lot of fuss about having to wait too long and never coming back again. One couple who came in walked out after 10 minutes of getting there. I also noticed that the waitress kept on using the words uncle and aunty with anyone who looked older aged. I noticed that many people came there by mistake thinking it was First Chinese BBQ which is of course across the street. Most of the men had beard and they women were acting and speaking submissive in nature as they let their spouse decide what they were going to eat. I also noticed chef sending special deserts for people he greeted by coming out and for those people who got their food delayed. All the people working there were old people except for the owner, Mexican and the waitress. It was also shocking at least for me that it seemed that almost all the Muslim people knew each other from one way or the other also they knew each other through one person to other. It also seemed women got married quite young or it just might be that they looked young.
Conclusion
The appearance of the men and women in Hajiba and Burkha has to do with their religion and culture where only husbands can see their wives face. The same goes with the beard for men as it is said that men grow it long in the name of their prophet. The free books and CDs is for the awareness and good will of the people. There is large groups coming because they meet at the Mosque and due to the closeness of restaurant and the owner being someone they knew. The food choice also has to do more with the socialization and culture as Pakistanis people have food that are mostly spicy. The other factor of mistaking the BBQ is because the name does not explain the type of BBQ it has so it is a misinterpretation and unclear as to what type of BBQ it has. The part where waitress calls everyone uncle and aunty who are older in age is due to the fact that it is a form of respect which is common in Nepal, India and Pakistan. While in America it is seen as disrespectful to one’s real uncle and calling someone old.

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