The other night I attended a traditional Chinese birthday dinner.
It wasn't my first time to go to one of those celebrations, but it amazes me each time I know I'll get to spend the entire evening devoted to food.
Food and eating and talking and eating and waiting for more food in-between.
How is that? Try a 12 course dinner not including the 2 desserts.
With increments of at least 20 minutes each, the presentation of each main course is as important as the chronology of when it is served. Rice, as much as possible, is not part of important meals like this, because it is considered cheap and in bad taste (because supposedly, when you serve rice, it shows that you probably want to stuff your guests early so that they will be full already). The usual Chinese favorites like Sweet and Sour Pork and fried chicken are not favored because it is also inexpensive and part of the usual fare. What are usually ordered are seafoods and pigeon. Crab, will always come last because it symbolizes the "breaking through" of yet another year in one's life. Quite interesting stuff that I learned, all from sitting beside the person who paid for everything that night.
Although I could pass on the sea cucumer soup and friend pigeon, one note-worthy discovery was Seafood Pie, which looks exactly like what its called. Think of pie baked in a casserole, thats tastes like Chicken Ala King except it has chopsuey, crabstick, mushroom, loads and loads of shrimp and ripe mango strips. Now I think ive found something that can rival my love for Hot Shrimp Salad!
Anyway, in return for the meal, guests were expected to sing. Unfortunately I had not geared up for any Chinese song (maybe next year). I was stuffed and although I know I consumed about a million calories that night, I didnt feel guilty one bit.
Thank god for my gym.