Thursday, December 21, 2006

You want me to eat that? Parts 2 & 3

I've had a whirlwind day in China today. I started my day (after sleeping for only a couple of hours in Shanghai). I met with a prospective vendor and had a fruitful two hour visit. Because we ended early, my hosts suggested that we have a quick lunch before my trip to the airport. Because I hadn't had a meal in over 24 hours, I accepted.

We went to a Chinese restaurant, as your would expect. My hosts ordered, and we ate shrimp, fish, pork and vegetables (eaten in a doughy pocket) and several other dishes. The meal was excellent, and my hosts were amazed that I was proficient with chopsticks. I mentioned my love of the American version of Chinese food and how we used to go to Chinatown in NYC to eat every so often. As the food kept coming, I waited for the dish that would challenge my sensibilities - and if finally came. A soup was brought out and it had some kind of weird looking meat and little mushrooms. As you may know, mushrooms skeeve me, so I was hesitant. I asked what it was, and they said I probably should try it before they answer. My "shouldn't eat this" red flags and alarms were going off full bore. I tried a piece of the meat and it was fine. I thought it was chicken, except that it had this strange skin on it. I ate some more, and politely asked my hosts what it was. I had just eaten frog. All I know is that it really does taste like chicken, and I will never turn frog legs down again...

After the meal and our goodbyes, I was on my way to the airport. After a 2 hour flight, I was in Beijing, the China capital. I went directly to my hosts site (my second site visit of the day) and had a short, but effective meeting. It was then suggested that we go to eat, which I accepted. Since we are in Beijing, which was formally known as Peking (as in Peking Duck), I was informed that the name of the restaurant was "The Duck House". After declining a fork (which again, amazed my hosts), we had Peking Duck (wrapped in a crepe like thing), chicken, shrimp, veggies, sweet and sour beef, etc. The only plate I didn't know what it was had vegetables and minced meat. It didn't look bad, so I took some. After eating it, and asking what it was, I came to learn that it was mushrooms. So much for my disdain for all things mushroom. It was good.

I'm finally back in the hotel and looking forward to some sleep. I get up early tomorrow to become a hero....more on that tomorrow.


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