A couple of days after LB started working, we were invited to dinner by his boss and a couple of colleagues. I was pretty excited to have my first “real” dinner out in China after the move. We had been eating out some, but I don’t really think it counts considering we were eating at Ikea (three times in 2 weeks actually. Who’d have guessed we’d move to China and start on a diet of Swedish Meatballs), Pizza Hut, and the restaurant in the Kempinski Hotel. Turns out my first authentic meal in China wasn’t “Chinese” at all, but Korean style barbecue.
The restaurant was really interesting. We had a private room (This is very common in China. Most of the nicer restaurants have many private rooms you can reserve for larger parties.) with a long table in the middle of the room. In the middle of the table, they brought out large bowls filled with red hot charcoal. On top of the bowl, they laid a copper looking metal grate (kind of looked like a giant square tennis racket). Built into the table was a vent that sucked away the smoke and kept the charcoal smoldering.
It was a pretty awesome way to have dinnerâ€¦ kind of like camping. But with style.
They change the little metal grill every so often. They said it was because the blackened burnt bits that build up on the grill aren’t healthy for you.
I had to smile at that…
Especially considering one important little healthy detail seemed to me to be overlookedâ€¦ they only gave us one set of chopsticks. One set of chopsticks to put the raw meat on the grill, take it off, and eat it with.
I’m pretty sure that’s a BIG no-no in the US. However, after watching everyone else just dive in like it was normal, I figured I’d just go with it. They apparently don’t have the same kind of germs here as we do back in the States. For the record, I’m still alive and well, and nothing terrible happened as a result from mixing raw and cooked meat. I figured it’s probably just like sushi. Raw meat won’t hurt you as long as you eat it with chopsticks, right? Or maybe that whole idea is just a big myth they like to spread around the US to make us buy more Clorox. Or maybe I just ate enough dirt growing up that I’m immune to that sort of thing. That’s probably itâ€¦ just eat more dirt.
We had so much food on the table that they had to stack the plates on top of each other. We had several types of marinated beef and duck, mussels, and shrimp (shell and eyeballs included. yum.)
And can you tell what the orange dish is?
If you look closely…
do you see the little suckers on the tentacles?
It was a very spicy octopus dish. Pretty good. I think you really need to spice it up to overcome the rubbery texture.
And for the grand finaleâ€¦ a Shenyang specialty!
This is a dish that can be served “raw” or cooked. I’m pretty sure no amount of peer pressure could make me eat
Our host chose cooked. I was very thankful.
And I have to admit itâ€¦ these things are YUMMY! They are battered and sauteed in some kind of awesome seasoning that is a little spicy, but sooo good.
In case you were wondering, silk worms don’t taste like chicken. Much more like some kind of nut. Maybe a walnut, or pecan. Quite good. I would definitely suggest trying them if you ever make it to this side of the world.
If you are brave enough to try the raw onesâ€¦ let me know how that goes. I’m not quite that adventurous.