Hackers Loved Chinese Food

Chinese food was a system, too, and the hacker curiosity was applied to that system as assiduously as to a new LISP compiler. Samson had been an aficionado from his first experience on a TMRC outing to Joy Fong’s on Central Square, and by the early sixties he had actually learned enough Chinese characters to read menus and order obscure dishes. Gosper took to the cuisine with even greater vigor; he would prowl Chinatown looking for restaurants open after midnight, and one night he found a tiny little cellar place run by a small family. It was fairly dull food, but he noticed some Chinese people eating fantastic-looking dishes. So he figured he’d take Samson back there.

They went back loaded with Chinese dictionaries, and demanded a Chinese menu. The chef, a Mr. Wong, reluctantly complied, and Gosper, Samson, and the others pored over the menu as if it were an instruction set for a new machine. Samson supplied the translations, which were positively revelatory. What was called “Beef with Tomato” on the English menu had a literal meaning of Barbarian Eggplant Cowpork. “Wonton” had a Chinese equivalent of Cloud Gulp. There were unbelievable things to discover in this system! So after deciding the most interesting things to order (“Hibiscus Wing? Better order that, find out what that’s about”), they called over Mr. Wong, and he jabbered frantically in Chinese disapproval of their selections. It turned out he was reluctant to serve them the food Chinese-style, thinking that Americans couldn’t take it. Mr. Wong had mistaken them for typically timid Americans—but these were explorers! They had been inside the machine, and lived to tell the tale (they would tell it in assembly language). Mr. Wong gave in. Out came the best Chinese meal that any of the hackers had eaten to date.


Because they discovered, through Chinese dictionaries, that there was another menu for Chinese patrons with better food that had fantastic names.

Folksonomies: mandarin chinese food hackers

/food and drink/cuisines/chinese cuisine (0.564479)
/food and drink (0.391474)
/science/social science/linguistics/translation (0.354276)

Mr. Wong (0.996356 (negative:-0.646687)), Chinese dictionaries (0.881228 (neutral:0.000000)), order obscure dishes (0.869974 (neutral:0.000000)), new LISP compiler (0.865281 (neutral:0.000000)), chinese food (0.860094 (neutral:0.000000)), tiny little cellar (0.841725 (neutral:0.000000)), Barbarian Eggplant Cowpork (0.836465 (neutral:0.000000)), best Chinese meal (0.824716 (neutral:0.000000)), typically timid Americans—but (0.811244 (negative:-0.646687)), Chinese patrons (0.711541 (positive:0.410281)), Samson (0.701074 (positive:0.569106)), hacker curiosity (0.678963 (neutral:0.000000)), Chinese characters (0.677767 (neutral:0.000000)), Chinese people (0.670185 (neutral:0.000000)), Chinese menu (0.669570 (neutral:0.000000)), Chinese disapproval (0.669150 (negative:-0.507626)), better food (0.664635 (positive:0.410281)), fantastic names (0.664306 (positive:0.410281)), Chinese equivalent (0.659130 (negative:-0.235924)), fantastic-looking dishes (0.658683 (neutral:0.000000)), greater vigor (0.657229 (positive:0.486436)), Joy Fong (0.653857 (positive:0.569106)), early sixties (0.650076 (neutral:0.000000)), unbelievable things (0.641737 (positive:0.363786)), food Chinese-style (0.640932 (negative:-0.282720)), Cloud Gulp (0.640495 (negative:-0.235924)), small family (0.637791 (neutral:0.000000)), Central Square (0.636437 (positive:0.569106)), literal meaning (0.628016 (neutral:0.000000)), instruction set (0.627829 (positive:0.335313))

Samson:Person (0.903499 (positive:0.569106)), Mr. Wong:Person (0.753815 (negative:-0.479011)), Gosper:Person (0.565389 (positive:0.128491)), Joy Fong:Person (0.353680 (positive:0.569106)), Central Square:Facility (0.334270 (positive:0.569106)), assembly language:FieldTerminology (0.332207 (neutral:0.000000)), instruction set:FieldTerminology (0.300123 (positive:0.335313))

Restaurant (0.912462): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Chinese character (0.844168): website | dbpedia | opencyc | yago
Chinese language (0.824365): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Lisp programming language (0.803888): dbpedia
Eating (0.788773): dbpedia | freebase
American Chinese cuisine (0.749688): dbpedia | freebase
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution (0.688143): dbpedia | freebase
Hong Kong (0.682514): geo | website | dbpedia | ciaFactbook | freebase | opencyc | yago | geonames

Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Levy , Steven (2010-05-20), Hackers, O'Reilly Media, Inc., Retrieved on 2012-01-12
  • Source Material [books.google.com]
  • Folksonomies: computers