Posted on January 05, 2005 06:58 AM
Here and in China one of the things I noticed walking or driving around is how prominent the chef's portrait is for an establishment. Even around the block from our place there's a restaurant with the photos of their head chef decked out with many ribbons and medals. In China I remember seeing the portrait of their chef hanging above their front door. This wasn't your your typical 8x12 photo, no these were huge portraits possibly more close to 8 feet by 12 feet. You can be down the street and spot the portrait.
We went to some restaurants only because it was famous for having an imperial heritage or the first one to serve a particular popular imperial dish. But for the most part because we were part of a packaged tour most of our meals were pre-ordered. A majority of the time we got kung pao chicken(one time with the fagaro pepper), some kind of egg drop or hot and sour soup, bok choy with mushrooms, and slices of oranges/watermelons. The only time we had something noticeably different was our dinner in Beijing at an Imperial restaurant and we had something we thought was beef but turned out to be camel. It was kind of unappetizing since most of the food was cold and earlier that day we were just admiring a camel at the Great Wall.
We had one chance to order on our own and boy did it take a while since the menu was not in English. So we could have ended up with snake but opted for pheasant instead. The other time we were on our we decided to order room service or eat at the hotel. If anything we were just excited to have really hot food.
I didn't really drink wine or beer over the trip since I was recovering from food poisoning early in the trip and I was afraid of many unfamiliar things on my plate or cup. For at least 2 days I think I just ate saltine crackers and rice porridge.