Friday, January 26, 2007

A restaurant review.

We went to the place down the street that was recommended to us by our host, Peter. I don't actually know the name of it, because we still can't read the Chinese characters. You'd think the immersion would work by now, wouldn't you?

We should have stopped as soon as we saw the people out on the street cleaning the drains right in front of the restaraunt. The smell of sewer gas was strong, but you could barely smell it inside, so we sat down. We'd put our jackets on the backs of the chairs we were sitting at. They immediately put plastic covers over those jackets right on the chairs.

Our waitress handed us 2 large menus with which to point to the food of our choice. Mary chose pork dumplings. I chose spicy chicken with peanuts. We both ordered Coke Light, because we drink a lot of hot tea in our room. I'd assumed that I'd get rice. There was one bowl of spicy chicken with some onions and a good sauce set down on the table. That's it. We both started to nibble on this and work on our chopstick skills. I'm getting pretty good with those things. Mary was looking for a fork and having no luck. She received her pork dumplings a few minutes later.

First, let me say that all of the food was very good. It's just different. The atmosphere was very strange. We were being stared at by the waitresses for a while, but we've gotten used to being stared at in the last couple of days. For a while our waitress was standing within 12 inches of our table watching us eat. A sense of humor is definitely necessary at this point.

Every few minutes, one to three cooks would come out of the kitchen and go outside to talk to the drain cleaning people, and then they'd return to the kitchen.

We'd finished eating just about the time that the wait staff was getting together to have a "rally the troops" meeting. They all lined up, counted off, (yi, er, san, si...), and were talked to for a few minutes and then spoke some phrases in unison. That's when the smell started to creep into the dining room. We were ready to go. We just had to wait for the meeting to be over.

The meeting ended and they all scattered, but it looked like they forgot about us. We sat there looking at each other for a few minutes asking, "What do we do now?".

Eventually, we got up, and took the jacket covers off, and I went to the front by the cashier. They quickly got our info together and we paid 76 RMB for the meal. That approximately $9.50 US for 2 meals with 2 Coke Light cans.

Overall, we're having a lot of fun, and trying new things.

Original Comments from Post

Re: A restaraunt review. By Davin on 1/26/2007
Day three in China and you still can't read Chinese? I think it's like Egyptian - just look at the letters and figure out the story. JK.
I wonder about the purpose of the jacket covers. Peter might know. Was there a coat rack? Also, what kind of tea have you two been drinking? Black, Green, Oolong, White or Yellow tea?
Nasty sewer smell, huh? Ick! BTW - once you get the hang of chopsticks, they can be a lot of fun. They also make you eat slower.
You two were eating authentic Chinese food. real Asian food will grow on you. Soon, you'll be back in Minnesota wondering why people here eat the crap we do in America. Thanks for the review!

Re: A restaraunt review. By Lois on 1/26/2007
I love gastronomic adventures.

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