Saturday, November 10, 2007

Private room


There is a nice little restaurant, close to where we live in Xiamen, called Know How. I love the name, it is the most Chinese-sounding English name you can imagine! We like to go there at lunch or dinner, because the environment is pleasant, the food is good and inexpensive. And they definitely have the best "seafood dumpling"!
I know, you already imagine the small dumplings so common here. That's what we thought as well the first time we ordered it. And to our greatest surprise... and our greatest pleasure... came a big bread bowl, filled with seafood in a nice creamy coconut and red curry sauce. And all this for 30 RMB ($4). I love that dish. I can go back there every week and order it everytime!
So, the other day, we invited our business partners for a quick and simple lunch there. The five of us arrived at the restaurant a little after noon. There were a number of nice and quiet tables we could choose from, but to our surprise, our business partner started talking to the waitress... in mandarin of course, so we couldn't really know what was happening, and before we know it, we are in a private room upstairs! And a few minutes later, we have all ordered something that we will share... plus a couple of other dishes... and the whole event suddenly looked too familiar! It had become one of these official business meals with our Chinese hosts! No more casual lunch sitting all together in the dining room like we are used to in North-America! Oh well, it seems like there is only one way to have a business lunch or dinner here: a private room, a round table with a number of dishes circulating around! And the most funny thing is that we ordered our favorite "seafood dumpling" which I praised to our hosts, but none of them seemed interested to try it... we really have different taste buds it seems!

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