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Is It Watermelon Time Yet?

Saturday night, October 11, 2008

The Chinese like to eat…lots and lots of food. Every meal has been over the top in quantity as well as quality of food. Basically we all sit at a big round table with a huge lazy Susan in the middle. Waitpersons pile the lazy Susan with plates upon plates upon bowls upon bowls of varied and decorated food preparations. The lazy Susan traverses the diameter and people ready themselves to jab or scoop their targeted food onto their chopsticks. If you’re not quick enough the food might just pass you by. Unfortunately for me, my chopstick skills have resulted in many false starts and missed opportunities.

Some things were a little too mysterious for me to take a gander at but other things, like most fish and vegetable dishes, were cooked perfectly and flavorful with many and varied sauces and seasonings. We were told early on that when the plate with watermelon arrives, this signifies the end of the meal. What we weren’t prepared for is how long we would wait for the watermelon to arrive. Heaping bowls of food—noodles, seafood, vegetables, soup, beef, lamb, chicken, and even jellyfish—just kept on coming. The dumplings were particularly spectacular (and easier to navigate with chopsticks). Most plates and bowls were at least half full when the meal finally did end 1.5 to 2 hours later, leading me to wonder about the fate of all this wonderful food and those less fortunate of the 1.3 billion in the country.