China: Dinner Tables

Sunday, July 17, 2011 0 No tags Permalink 0

No tidy two-tops or bar seats. Tables for 10, 15, and even 20 on certain occasions. Such was nearly every meal in China. And though I prefer eating in small groups, some of the best moments during this family vacation took place around these large tables.

Bai jiu, the local white liquor is poured at both lunch and dinner. Cheers and gan bei! “Gan bei” translates to “dry the cup,” and that is taken seriously. But unlike the American custom of saying “cheers” at the start of the meal, and drinking at your own pace, in China you have to say “cheers” every single time you want to take a sip. And usually you say cheers to the whole table. So everyone has to take a sip. And thus everyone ends up drinking at least 20X more than planned.

Needless to say we all ended tispy/drunk/wasted by the end of each evening. A family vacation indeed ;)

Luckily there is plenty of food to buffer all the alcohol…

…and meals end with a plain bowl of hot jook (aka congee) to “calm the stomach.”

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