Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Forks, spoons, knives, dinner plates and napkins

are sure signs that we are eating at a western-style restaurant. This past Saturday, we decided to have our monthly treat of eating western-style food at Wei's Pizzaria. Wei's has excellent wood-fired pizzas, a selection of Mexican food and a variety of Chinese dishes. We certainly enjoy (most of) the Chinese food, but it sure does feel good to have something different and to eat differently. After finding Wei's, (they recently moved to a new location, (which fortunately, is a better location for us), thus, the address in my guidebok was outdated), we had a wonderful meal of 2 pizzas, beers for the adults, and juices for the kids. An added bonus is that the restaurant has a kids' play area, a good selection of books and magazines and a pool table. We arrived a bit after the usual lunch time , so it wasn't crowded. After eating, the kids played on the playscapes (and were delighted they had the whole room to themselves), while Gustavo and I enjoyed a game of solids and stripes.

The rest of the month we eat the everyday Chinese-style food with chopsticks. When I have soup, I need to ask for a spoon, and I'm usually the only one in the dining hall eating soup that way! I just can't drink my soup like the locals do. (Gustavo and the kids do, though.) Eating at most restaurants or at someone's home, the food is served in large platters. The table is set with small plates, small bowls (and in better restaurants, small, wide spoons). Each diner justs picks and chooses among the dishes and puts small amounts on their plate. So, it's a real treat to have silverware, a large plate and a napkin. (Everywhere else you need to bring your own napkins, except in better restauants.) Even when we eat at home, Gustavo and the kids first use chopsticks, then revert to silverware when the chops just can't get everything. Me?? I start out and stay with my fork, knife and spoon!

Also, the Chinese do not use their fingers for eating. The only thing I've seen eaten with bare hands is a piece of fruit. So in places like McD's and KFC where there is no tableware (except for spoons) or chopticks, the Chinese will eat their burger, chicken and even fries (!) with a piece of paper or napkin between the food and their fingers. I'm not sure how pizza would be handled. Most don't like pizza because of the large amount of cheese (dairy).

When you are earning the local wage, western-style food is expensive. The cost is at least three to four times the cost of Chinese food. For example, at a Chinese restaurant, two to three dishes, 2 beers and 2 juices would cost under Y30 ($4). At Wei's, 2 pizzas (they're small, like everything in China is), 2 beers and 2 juices cost just under Y100 ($12). !Buen provecho!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When we were in China the locals
seemed to love McDonald's, KFC,
Pizza Hut. I know Papa John's
just opened stores in China too.After a week of Chinese food
pizza tasted so good. Liz