Some readers of this blog -- you know who you are -- have requested more coverage of the food I'm enjoying here, with a specific request for close-up photos of some of the dishes. Yesterday's activities made it easy for me to comply, because I enjoyed a sumptuous lunch at the hotel in Zhuhai owned by Ling's old classmate, Mr. Jeung.
The room we dined in was particularly nice, but I only had tie to squeeze off a quick shot of it because we started in on the banquet almost immediately.
Among the diners -- there were ten of us -- were C***o's husband R****i, Mr. Jeung, and Mr. Wong, president of the college. . .
. . .as well as Mrs. Jeung and their daughter Kara, who's majoring in business at a university in Macau.
The order of the courses in a banquet often appears to have little rhyme or reason. For instance, the richest course, this duck liver, was one of the first two dishes served, coming out nearly simultaneously...
. . .with this chicken, which looks relatively simple compared to what was to come but was amazingly favorful.
Two fried dishes followed: This perefctly done fried fish, crunchy with a bit of heat from the peppers on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. . .
. . . .and this rather bland but pleasing fried tofu.
Here's the obligatory but always welcome whole steamed fish.
Instead of the unadorned shrimps that I've been sevred nearly everywhere else, these were stir-fried with an unidentifiable ingredient; it looked sort of like seaweed, but you don't eat it -- it's just for flavor.
Some sort of greens (it wouldn't be a banquet here without at least a few dishes I couldn't identify).
Delicious mussels, stir-fried with peppers and other spices; much like the dish I had at the seaside restaurant a few days earlier, but even tastier.
Ox tails, but prepared differently than I've ever had them before: Lightly battered and fried.
We were given individual cups of a mild fish soup as the meal was winding down (soup here is typically but not always served late in the meal, to aid digestion).
The small, unassuming yellow buns were one of the high points of the entire meal. A perfectly balanced study in contrasts: the soft, slightly sweet dough against the filling of mildly savory crabmeat and slightly crunchy veggies. The fact that the dough had a bit of salt and the crabmeat a little sweetness provided added nuance. They came at the end of the meal -- right before the plate of watermelon, cantelope, and grape tomatoes that's typically served as dessert -- and by that time nobody was very interested in eating any more, which meant that I had no competition in polishing off four of them myself.
If I look happy and content here at the end of the banquet, is it any wonder? The lunch was just the beginning of a jam-packed day in Zhuhai, but the rest will have to wait till the next entry. . . .