Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Dewey Decimal standardization of Chinese food

  [vote for,

In all Chinese restaurants, at least at the lower end of the spectrum, the menu items are numbered. I had always assumed that these numbers were derived in some way from the I-Ching ("37 - long life and prosperity with oyster sauce"), but apparently this isn't the case, because there are often more than 64 items on the menu.

I was even more shocked to realize that any given number can refer to completely different things, depending on which restaurant you're at. Thus, Monty Python's "A fourteen, a seven, a nine and lychees" might be a wise choice at one establishment, but might consist entirely of tofu (apart from the lychees) at another.

Clearly, this madness must stop, and the Chinese must be made to see sense.

Fortunately, a model exists in the form of the Dewey Decimal system, used by librarians and named in honour of Donald's nephew. It is obvious that this can be extended to cover the complete oeuvre of Chinese cuisine.

The first digit, between 1 and 9, will correspond to the predominant taste of the dish (sweet, sour, salt, bitter, umami, sweet-and-sour etc). The second digit will indicate the general nature of the predominant ingredient (meat, poultry, seafood, grain, legume, other vegetable, fungi etc), whilst the third digit narrows this down to particular species. As in the Dewey system, several post- decimal digits can be used to add precision. Thus "622.858" would be sweet-and-sour chicken with beansprouts, whereas "614.832" would be sweet-and-sour pork with cashews. And cetera and cetera.

Such a system would have innumerable* benefits. For one, if you really like 515.48 with 320.88 and 317.77, then you will be able to order it immediately from any Chinese restaurant that happens to be convenient. For another, if they don't do 515.48, you can be pretty confident that either 525.48 (chicken instead of pork) or 515.43 (with spring greens rather than celery) will be OK.

Also, if you can't decide exactly what to order but know the general nature of the things you like, you can go for "anything in the 350's".

Finalmost, this system will immediately reveal lacunae in the Chinese food repertoire. Why, for instance are there almost no items in the 513.6's? Is this because pork and ginger really don't go well, or is it simply an area that hasn't yet been adequately explored?

(*this is a statement that can rarely be made about numbering systems)

MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 17 2018

The four food groups https://wiki.lspace..._Brown_Crunchy_Bits
"Fried" is an essential component [8th of 7, Apr 17 2018]

The Gastronome Codex The_20Gastronome_20Codex
<twirls overlong moustache> So, MaxwellBuchanan, we meet again!</twirl> [DrBob, Apr 19 2018]


       Long, long overdue ...   

8th of 7, Apr 17 2018

       Huey and Louie are still steaming about their exclusion off the project. One innocent prank with the mayoral voting rolls in Duckburg and they are tagged as villains.
RayfordSteele, Apr 17 2018

       Few people know that Louie was named after Louie Armstrong, the first man to play a trumpet on the moon.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 17 2018

       ... accompanied by "Count Buzzie" Aldrin on the spoons.
8th of 7, Apr 17 2018

       Don't be silly, [8th].
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 17 2018

       That problem has already been addressed. "Fried" is one of the basic flavours that the human tongue can perceive, and is covered by the first digit.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 17 2018

       // "Fried" is one of the basic flavours //   

8th of 7, Apr 17 2018

       More detail is required in the form of extra decimal points to indicate volume and intensity of MSG, exact region from where the rice comes, temperature of frying oil, etc. I can see 50+ digits being deployed to ensure totally specific meals, and that's before getting to the plates and chopsticks.
xenzag, Apr 17 2018

       Does Pi take on a life of its own as a complicated Indian dish?
RayfordSteele, Apr 17 2018

       Only if you're a tiger in a lifeboat.
pertinax, Apr 18 2018

       Oh dear. It would seem to appear that I have been preemptively beaten to it by the good [DrBob]. Have these prawn balls on me, Doc.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 19 2018

       That movie was borderline transcendental.
RayfordSteele, Apr 19 2018

       //preemptively beaten// then deep fried in batter!
xenzag, Apr 20 2018

       Technically, if you're still on a borderline, then you haven't transcended it. That's why tangential meditation never really took off.
pertinax, Apr 20 2018

       That raises an interesting question: at the exact mathematical point of pi, are the values of the leftside and rightside limits of pi transcendental, borderline transcendental, irrational, or what?
RayfordSteele, Apr 20 2018

       //at the exact mathematical point of pi, are the values of the leftside and rightside limits of pi//   

       That's an interesting question. But surely the values immediately either side of pi must also be pi? If they're not, then there'd be room for another number between them and pi.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 20 2018

       It's not interesting at all. It's simply wilfully ignoring the definition of limits.
pocmloc, Apr 20 2018

       // Negative numbers need 2 dimensions. //   

       So ? There are untold numbers of dimensions, why worry ?   

       // Please people stop using negative terms as they need another dimension. //   

       We have to say that, in terms of intellectual development, you appear to lack ambition.
8th of 7, Apr 20 2018

       //Have these prawn balls on me, Doc//

Very well. Down on all fours with you. You don't expect me to eat standing up, do you!?
DrBob, Apr 20 2018

       //why worry ?// Someone might tell them.
pertinax, Apr 20 2018

       More pi, that’s precisely what I do not need...   

       Someone needs to invent the number that is infinitely close to pi without it being pi. Like the edge of a a discontinuity function line with a hole in it there. Infinitesimally close.
RayfordSteele, Apr 20 2018


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