Friday, May 21, 2010

Lunches in China

This is the restaurant where we eat lunch (almost) every day.  It's good food, always served the way you see here.  You get a small bowl and chopsticks.  The first thing you do with the bowl is clean it with hot tea, then pour the tea into a common "trash bowl" along with the packaging from the chopsticks.  The circle in the middle of the table is a Lazy Susan, and there's a big bowl of plain white rice in the middle.  You just take what you want, put it in your bowl and eat it.  This works well for me because I can't remember what everything is called, so I just take a lot of what looks good and a little of what doesn't look good (gotta try everything once).  You can see some fried noodles (chow mein), tofu, cabbage, soup on the far side and some meat-and-veggies bowls.  The dark brown spot in the rice is like con-con in the Dominican Republic, just overcooked rice that was in direct contact with the bowl.
If you want tea, then eat what's in the bowl, pour tea in your bowl and drink.  Despite the heat, Chinese people drink scalding hot tea at lunch.  I drink a bottle of cold water before and after lunch.  Smokers use their bowl as an ashtray after eating.
In front of the restaurant there are a couple of tanks of fish.  These are probably 16 or 18 inches long each.  They don't bother to remove the bones, so you pull the bones out with chopsticks.  It's kind of a hassle, but good for your chopstickin' skills.

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