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China: By Journalists Eyes VI: Around The Chinese-Covered Table

Published: 23.6.2012
The first dining experience in China didn’t impress me too much. Five stars beautiful hotel, a lot of fuss on arrival our journalistic delegation - a bow and waving fans welcomed us beauties in traditional dress, from the table.

and we, tired after a long flight by empty stomachs looked forward to eat the first Chinese delicacy, we are disappointed after a while staring at a plate of French fries and fried fish. No bowls, chopsticks and spiral, round tables, European common dining room. I strongly doubted whether one of the essential experiences of travel - traditional local cuisine - is left unfulfilled.

To my great joy of culinary and eater so really didn’t happen. First food should protect us against possible health complications from changes in diet. After all, we were guests of the government. That night, after the heavy themed program we had the perfect Chinese board, at the same hotel. Huge round tables were decorated with flowers, each of us found a sign with his name - by the way, very thoughtfully and artfully placed to "fun" could go while we were under the scrutiny of ministerial our Chinese hosts.

The process of serving wasn’t different from what we've used - in the first place then drink. I, ordered my favourite beer, unlike most of my colleagues. How about the Chinese one tastes? Will I have something to tell my friends from Pilsen? Well, unfortunately, yes. When he appeared before me the golden fluid, I rejoiced. But when I picked up a glass, the joy was gone. I saw something of the air temperature in the room, brrrrr! So I tried to remedy the waitress and asked whether I did not bring cold beer - with a gentle smile and wonder at the same time told me in broken English that they do not serve anything chilled. Okay, I'll have water and then we go to eat.

Our table is slowly beginning to fill by a variety of delicacies all sorts of colours and finishes, I feel wonderful aroma of ginger, garlic and coriander. Watching a sweet crispy duck slices, garnished with beans, chicken in a few adjustments, a bowl of fried noodles, vegetarian dishes, including dishes, which at first sight can´t be identified. I know I had a taste of everything - it's one of morality and the host is honoured. Saliva converge, but there must be a kind of prologue to hear - dinners with us several representatives of Ministry of foreign affair  - so grateful for our home to visit and wonderful praises relations with the Czech Republic, which now thanks to us "will be better and better." Phew, we're behind, hosts the instruction and the table begins to turn.

Unlike journalistic colleagues from Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania and Poland for the first time I was in China. At home I was always led to a perfect dining French style, here but I intend to keep the traditional ways and scornfully relegate prepared cutlery. Most messmate wielding chopsticks in hand - by the way of a beautiful lacquered wood with silver decoration - and skillful movements that look quite simply, gaining of the table on their plates. And I proudly take chopsticks and surreptitiously watching neighbour of Hungary, as is actually held. Noticing and instruct me.

Lower wand does not move - it is as a prop, the wand floating thumb, index and middle fingers. It's something like tweezers. I train to dry and try to see a nice piece that I will get, when it goes around me. Approaching the beef slices in honey sauce, I got my first aim. But whoops. Get the slippery little thing in the tweezers is more difficult than I thought. Hunt, hunt, grabs, frantically trying to control the wand, but as soon as I catch meat, slips. The table turns, turns, beef is long out of reach and my plate remained empty. The company is starting to have fun and I'm pretty rumbling in the abdomen.

Second time I will focus on the noodles - watching guests, as brilliantly gaining on a decent pile of "raid". It looks promising. Noodles is coming, start, try to pick up bunch - in my chopsticks stuck really bulky bunch, but the path to the plate is long, so most of my game ends on the table and I zobnu about five noodles. Entertainment at our table because of my skills and really starts getting me no matter what you will do, I have a tremendous hunger, taste great and I feel like the goose that has to feed from a bottle.

Chattering constantly idle chopsticks, try the right grip, my colleagues advise one another and glory! On my plate lands something big, brownish, transparent. I know that it's yak ear - delicacy from the western counties. I can only to let the goodies. Chew solid mass of tasteless and collected me at the sight of angry style click around the poles, which brilliantly gaining uptake meat bites, vegetables, nuts and rice. Table begins to empty, colleagues enjoying it, and from the Chinese side you can hear satisfied burp.

Taught by literature, I know that the Chinese table is inappropriate to take the last piece of the bowl. I am sadly watching that I have so many chances left. Hunt a little bit of noodles, two pieces of meat, clean my wand in a napkin and surreptitiously shove them into handbags. Order your wine. Hunger is still thirsty and had dressed for the personal time off and around the hotel are plenty food shops, where I´ll buy proper baguette.

Text/photo: Andrea Fantová



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