Friday, 20 March 2009

Downtown Dining

On Wednesday evening I met up with my friend Xin, who studied in the UK for five years, to go to dinner. Xin seriously impressed me by taking me to probably one of the nicest restaurants I have ever been to! Here I am, enjoying the feast. (And feeling slightly scruffy in a t-shirt!)

The service is incredible, throughout the meal waitresses would come and change your dirty plate for a clean one. They did it once when I was half way through eating something on my plate! Whilst we were eating there was a trio of musicians playing and singing, who, I hasten to add, in no way sounded like cats fighting!

I think Xin thought I'd gone slightly insane when I took a picture of the menu, but I wanted to show you all some of the more unusual dishes. As well as the famous shark's fin soup and bird's nest soup (neither of which I have ever seen on a menu before), I also had the chance to try 'Crispy Snow Frog'.

In the end, we went for slightly more quotidian, not to mention less expensive, options! These are braised pig's trotters served with a tangy sauce. These were surprisingly delicious, which I'm sure will amuse my mother as I'm pretty sure I can remember making a fuss when I was younger about how disgusting the idea of eating pig's trotters was. I have to admit that even when Xin said we should get them I was a bit taken aback that such a classy place would serve them, although I have no idea why the idea of eating trotter's should be so much stranger than consuming sausages or other parts of a pig.

This was my favourite, and I would go back just to eat it. It's sauteed aubergine (or egg plant) and onions covered in this almost sweet and sour like sauce. I could not stop eating it, the textures of the softly squidgy aubergine and the slightly crisper onions complemented each other beautifully. Thinking about it makes me want to go back and order a plate of it!
We also chowed down on some green vegetable soup, our attempt at being healthy, and a plate of kung po style chicken, which was incredibly spicy. Despite eating at a Sichuan restaurant several times a week since I've arrived in China, I actually think I've got worse at handling spicy foods. Or perhaps Chinese chillies are hotter than the ones you buy in the UK!

I'm off to Beijing for the weekend after my last afternoon class, so I will be too busy enjoying our 'no chopsticks' food rule (I can almost taste the pizza now), shaking my tail feathers in the Sanlitun bar area, shopping in the Silk Market and perhaps checking out the zoo or gallery area to post. Have a great weekend!


  1. Sounds like the perfect evening to catch up with a friend! Hope you enjoy your time in Beijing!

  2. I take it that "pig trotters" are pig feet? ((shudder)) I love how you describe the meal, the friendship, and the way the flavors stayed in your memory. That's beautiful - D

  3. You are a very adventurous eater. Interesting to see the menu and some of the dishes.
    Have fun on your weekend jaunt!

  4. I am very glad to hear that you didn't have the sharks fin soup as the fins are cut off the live sharks and then they are thrown back into the sea to drown! Anyway pigs trotters are good eats and the aubergine dish sounds delicous. Enjoy your weekend :)

  5. I had a fantastic weekend, thanks. :)
    And yes, pig's trotters are pig's feet. I'm not that adventurous in my eating compared to my friends. I've refused to sample dog, cat, snake, fish brains, fish eyes, honey bees, starfish...