When I lived in China as an English teacher, I quickly learned that eating out with friends is quite a social event. And usually so cheap compared to eating out at a Western restaurant! Let me share some of the most memorable dinner dates I have shared with my Chinese friends.
Eating Out – a roast pig
One of my coworkers, who is originally from England, celebrated the one month birthday of his baby girl, Josephine. It is a Chinese tradition that the mother and baby stay at home for an entire month, then they have a large celebration for everyone to meet the baby. This celebration was held in an upstairs banquet area of a large restaurant and the food and company was amazing. The roast pig was brought out for everyone to eat the crispy skin, and then returned later with all the meat cut up into small pieces on a platter ready to eat.
Eating Out – the pub with my coworkers
Before I returned home, I celebrated my birthday in the largest Irish style pub in Guangzhou, called McCawley’s. This pub was also conveniently located on the ground floor of my apartment building. This was just an impromptu meeting after work of my boss and 3 of my fellow teachers. There is an unhurried atmosphere to eating in China, whether it’s Western style restaurants or a Chinese restaurant. We ate, had a drink or two, and just relaxed to enjoy each other’s company.
Eating Out – traditional Chinese dinner
I think my favorite kind of meal was the traditional Chinese dinner where platters are brought out until the table is covered with delicious food. I have gone to this kind of dinner for a team meeting, to celebrate a friend’s wedding, and just for an everyday group dinner. I have seen whole fish covered in spicy peppers and sauce, strange vegetables I have never eaten before, and some dishes of strange body parts that I refused to eat! It’s all an adventure, so I have tried frog’s legs, intestines, strange cockles, and weird tasting meat and vegetable mixtures.
Eating out in China was definitely one of my most favorite activities when I lived there. I miss it since I returned home to the United States. Perhaps I just need to find a new restaurant with plenty of dishes to try, and a relaxed atmosphere so I can enjoy time with my company.