Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 12: Zhuhai

Today will be a discussion of the importance of cultural sensitivity, firm resolution and a brave stomach. You must first know how a traditional Chinese restaurant works. I was taken to a high end, but traditional Chinese restaurant. In this little town we were it, it was the ONLY happening place to eat.

In the main floor of a Chinese restaurant is always the area where you chose your food. The food is always fresh. That’s why you see fresh fish on ice or still swimming in the aquarium.

See the woman in the suit and tie holding the little device? She’s the order taker; she places whatever you tell her what you want on that device that, I’m assuming goes to the kitchen. She’ll follow you around as you choose your food.

How about some fish?

Do you like eel? They were swimming around.

I recognize the lobsters, those are really large lobsters; I get it, but horseshoe crab? How do you eat that?

I don’t know what this stuff is, the white slabs sort of looks like dried fish and dumplings?

When you get tired of looking at uncooked food, you can chose from the different presentations.

Would you like a little chicken….feet?

How about some quail wings?

How about some tongue?

Perhaps you like tail better?

How about a trio of turtles? Yes, by the looks of it, they are baby turtles.

Or you can get a bigger turtle to go.

I’m really not sure what the food is, the pyramid of figs looks innocent enough. It’s cool to see the open kitchen.

After you choose your food, you are taken upstairs into the private dining rooms. There is a large circular table with a big revolving top where the food is placed and spun towards each person sitting at the table.
My host was the big honcho, the owner of the facility I had visited this afternoon. My favorite dish was this unbelievably good scallop.

I got another surprise; I was all excited about the plate of green beans. I put about three of them on my plate. The trick being when a dish is first served to the table, everyone takes just a little bit, because you don’t know just how many the dish will serve. It’s just polite. Then if there is still food left over after everyone has taken a bit, then go back for seconds or thirds.
Well, I’m very glad I didn’t take a lot because as I chewed the first green bean, I realized it wasn’t a green bean sautéed in garlic, but spicy green peppers! Good thing I stopped at just one, it was the kind of pepper that kicked back after you ate it. So I stopped after the first one and eventually the pain went away.

As I sit here and type this, my stomach is in pain, something just didn’t agree with me tonight. No, I didn’t have any of the more exotic dishes, no turtle for me.But apart from the scallops and the spicy pepper, I can't tell you what I ate! I’m calling it an ‘early nite’, maybe I’ll be asleep before 10pm tonight.

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