We have all heard of wine pairing — where you pair a wine and a dish that go well together. It is not only delicious, but a fun experience. But, I have never heard of anyone doing song and food pairing. Too bad, it would be a fun novelty at a restaurant. I came upon this idea while sitting at a Thai cafe in Ojai. They were playing 80’s hits one after the other. I was thinking that it would be really funny if you ordered a dish, and the waiter came out with the dish with an accompanying song. The minute he/she emerged from the kitchen, the lights would dim, and the song would play.
Imagine that you ordered extra spicy green curry shrimp and all of a sudden the waiter comes out and you hear “Some Like it Hot” on the sound system. Or, what if you ordered angel wings (wings stuffed with glass noodles) and you hear the song, “Broken Wings”. It would be quite an experience. I had another idea of joke and food pairing where you pair a dry joke with a dry wine, or a dirty joke with Mississippi mud cake.
Another fun idea I had was to have novelty cakes. For acupuncturists cake shaped like an arm with needles in it which would be the candles. For notaries, a cake shaped like a notary seal that was leaking chocolate ink. But, imagine an Indian restaurant that had a rick-shaw cake. My take on this one is that the rick-shaw has an accident, crashes into the dish, and then the customer gets a phone call that sounds like it is from India.
Waiter: “We have a phone call for you about your rick-shaw… I think it is from overseas, you better take it!”
(Static on phone line — weird foreign sounding ring tone)
Call Center Guy: (nasal tone of voice with thick Indian accent) “Hello, Mr. Smith. We regret to inform you that your rick-shaw has met with a terrible accident. You will still be receiving it, but it crashed into a ditch, and the driver was slightly injured.”
The next thing you see is a guy dressed in a tan Indian style rick-shaw outfit with Hindu markings on his forehead who has a noticeable injury on his arms and face. The guy speaks very little English, but says, “Your rick-shaw is here sir” Then, the waiter brings out a rick-shaw cake that fell into a chocolate ditch. The cake is big enough for 6-8 people, and you have to decide who gets to eat the steering wheel! What fun!
Here is my list of 80’s songs and accompanying food. If you own a small cafe, you could have a ton of fun with these ideas!
“Whip it” could be paired with meringue, or deserts with lots of whipped cream.
“Like a Virgin” — Asian food is not high in olive oil, but if it were Asian-Italian fusion, you could pair Like a Virgin with extra virgin olive oil, or a dish that has a lot of it.
“Eye of the Tiger” could be paired with Tiger shrimp. Every time someone ordered that dish, the minute the waiter came out with the finished product, they could play Eye of the Tiger.
“Another one bites the dust” could be paired with a dessert that had been showered with chocolate dust.
“King for a Day” would go well with King Salmon. But, I adapted the song, “Wild Thing”, just in case someone orders “Wild King” Salmon from Whole Foods. The guy at the counter didn’t call it King Salmon… He called it “Wild King.”
“Bang a Gong” could be paired with Tom Yung Goong (spicy shrimp soup)
“Some Like it Hot” would be excellent with Thai or Indian food — almost any dish if ordered extra hot!
“Walking on Sunshine” — perfect if you order eggs sunny side up.
“Like a Virgin” is a great song if someone orders a Margarita with no alcohol.
“Broken Wings” could be paired with Thai chicken wings stuffed with glass noodles (Angel Wings)
“Sweet Dreams are Made of This” would be excellent with any dessert.
“Under Pressure” is perfect for anything cooked in a pressure cooker.
“Turning Japanese” by the Vapors would be good if you have only a handful of Sashimi items on the menu.
“Like a Surgeon” is a good song if you are carving a roast.
“Panama” would be good if you were serving some Central American dishes.
“Rock Lobster” by the B 52’s would be good with some good tail.
“Electric Avenue” might be good if you serve jellyfish (or if your cell phone is out of battery)
“Man-eater” would be a great song at any restaurant that serves humans.
“Purple Rain” might be good if you served ice cream in a raspberry sauce that you dripped on at the table.
“Rock the Casbah” would be perfect if you had only one Moroccan dish on the menu and someone ordered it.
“Raspberry Beret” — great with after dinner berries.
“Na Na Hey Hey”, by Bananarama would be good with Thai Rad Na noodles.
“Doctor Doctor” would not be played when the food arrives. But, if someone reacts poorly to a dish that was too spicy, then this song would come in handy.
“Don’t Worry Be Happy” is a great song to play if the bill is higher than the clients anticipated, or if they argue about the bill.