Friday, May 1, 2009

Dinner Time

The custom in China is for the hosts to hold a banquet for the the business guests. The range from unbelievably elaborate to relatively simple like this one. Here we are eating at a Mongolian hot pot establishment. The meat - beef and lamb - is very thinly sliced. You dip it in the boiling water at your seat for a few seconds to cook it. Then dip in spice as you like then eat. Repeat. A few interesting side dishes. The white one in the foreground is bone marrow. In the back we have beef trachea. There are some fish balls and shrimp balls. You cook those until the float. All this is washed down with copious amounts of bai jiu. Bai jiu is a white liquor up to about 104 proof. Hard to describe the taste but let me tell you a story. A couple of years ago there was a huge scandal involving the second most popular baijiu in China - a brand called Kweichow Maotai. Another company was producing fake Maotai. They has discovered that by diluting grain alcohol and then adding a couple of drops of DDT (yes, the pesticide) they could exactly duplicate the taste. They then counterfeited the bottles and packaging and were in business.

Four of us went to dinner at this seafood restaurant near the hotel one evening. Intersting concept. First you pick some dishes from the display case and the waitress records your choice on her handheld device that links to the kitchen.

The you choose from the fresh seafood bins.

These are especially fresh! As each dish is prepared it is delivered to your table. Total bill for 4 people 250 RMB or $USD 9 per person including beer, tea, tax, tip (no tipping actually.)

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