Sunday, October 22, 2006

Other tid-bits from China...

I was part of a team dinner at Lei Garden, within walking distance of my hotel, the Grand Hyatt, Beijing. The dinner had been set up in a private dining room; there were two large circular tables that seated the team of twenty-five.

The restaurant featured Guangdong delicacies (more commonly known as Cantonese). Guangdong is located in Southern China, and its cuisine is unique among Chinese cuisines.

I noticed all waitresses wore Bluetooth headsets, allowing them to speak with each other in low voices. Dinner consisted for multiple soups, meats, and vegetables; exotic preparations that were put in front of us, one after the other.

This was also the first time I tasted the famous Peking Duck. Dessert consisted of a sweet dumpling filled with a dark brown gooey concoction that seemed to be made of sesame. All in all, a dining experience that was quite different from the regular Chinese fare in India.

In addition to Peking Duck, the other 'must-have' dish in China is Beggar's Chicken (see attached story for why it is named so).

The waitressess positioned themselves at the doors of the dining room, the elevator, and the entrance of the building waving us good-bye at the end (sort of like the flight attendants do when passengers disembark from the plane).

Many have asked me if the Chinese food in China tastes as good as it does here in India :-) Actually, I loved the food, and I think anyone who is non-vegetarian and enjoys sea-food will do so as well. One difference I noticed was the use of bowls instead of plates to have your food. I was initally a little confused; didn't want to find out I was eating out of a soup bowl or, worse, a finger-bowl!

And, I discovered Jasmine tea! One of my colleagues had asked me to get some for him. When I entered a tea shop, I immediately discovered the many varieties. The good quality one is shaped like 'pearls'. Long tea leaves are wound until they form 'pearls' and then covered with Jasmine petals. When the tea leaves have absorbed the jamine juices/flavor, the petals are removed.

Great after-dinner tea; I am now a convert!


Anonymous said...

Wow! This was good narration. You now seem to love the travel. BTW, do you plan to bring Jasmine Tea in office? :-) - Ashutosh

Shantanu said...

Thanks, Ashutosh! Nope, I ration it out very carefully when we do use it :-)

Unknown said...

One thing about my job is that it makes me travel. And recently my company sent me to New Zealand to this place called Southland (also known as Murihiku, hope I've spelt that correctly). I'm telling you this was a paid vacation! And I really needed this one. This place is simply soothing, with the Catlins coast complete with beaches, forest walks & warm people took my breath away. Now that I'm back, I'm just praying that my company posts me there permanently. I can just imagine walking in the Park in the City again. Aaah! Heaven!..