The dinner started with some kind of a salty, cinnamon-y meat-broth with questionable floaty black things. Course two was a plate of cold appetizers, including some delicious pickled radishes with sweet sauce, some extremely spicy cucumbers (I nearly caused a scene), and a meat that redefines the term "cold cuts." I tried my best to at least taste everything that was set down in front of me, but I left the cold meat chunks alone. I know from my last trip here that those are on the "No thank you" list.
The third course was a very nice steak. Steak in China is slightly different, being that it is typically about equal parts meat and fat, and covered with a sweet and spicy Asian sauce that I really enjoy. Keeping with the meat trend, the fourth course was some animal's (I'm guessing a pig's) part (I'm guessing an organ of some sort). It didn't taste bad per se, but the texture was a bit alarming. Two bites in, I decided it was too much for me.
I was thrilled by the fifth course, which was a little bowl of fish in salty soy broth. It had the skin and fins still attached, but my chopstick skills were good enough to detach said skin and fins and consume the flaky bites just fine. The waitress brought out the head on a plate and tried to offer it to me. I politely declined. I tried fish gills in Kenya, and I am 110% sure I do not like them or any part of the fish's head.
Post fish-head, we were served two vegetable courses. The first was a combination of potatoes (white and purple), carrots, and cucumbers in a gelatinous white sauce. The second was a green vegetable I had never seen before (like a cross between bok choy and broccolini) in broth.
Course #8 was hands-down my favorite. Side by side on the plate were a dumpling and a strange looking orange ball shaped like a pumpkin. The dumpling was half steamed, half fried (those are the best kind!) and filled with pork, water chestnuts, and herbs. The orange 'thing' remains somewhat of a mystery. I know it was made from glutinous rice flour, which I think lends one of the most interesting textures to dessert that I've ever come across. It was flavored with peach, and on the inside was some sort of a nut (a walnut perhaps?). It was fun to try to eat it with chopsticks because it was extremely sticky (it stuck to the plate, the chopsticks, and our mouths), but the rest of the group had trouble too so I didn't feel awkward.
The last course was a martini glass filled with slices of orange, apple, and dragon fruit. Needless to say I liked this course as well. After dinner, we were served a delicate tea that tasted of pine and lemon--in a good way.
Today's excitement began with me finding a bug the size of my hand on the wall outside my balcony. The picture doesn't do it justice, but it was HUGE! And it was making the loudest sound I have ever heard a bug make. I thought it was a bird at first.
Candy and me at lunch: