Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Big Meal

Last night, David and I went to a Chinese Banquet cooked by my dear friend and former boss, Kian. The meal was sumptuous. A plate of cold appetizers included drunken chicken, preserved egg, shrimp in some kind of mustardy sauce. There was fried chicken (with the head, Melissa was there and loved that), conch cooked I don't know how, an amazing, almost fluffy (in a good way) mushroom soup with papaya, mustard greens with crab. All delicious. Then, there was the pork. Red cooked pork with steamed buns. It's Kian's specialty and when it arrived, everyone took a long deep breath and just gazed at it in loving admiration. We all knew, just by the look of it, that it would be fabulous, and it was. If I could've picked up the serving platter and licked it, I would have. Manners prevented me, but just barely.

The one problem I had with the banquet, honestly, was that it was a banquet. I mean, there were 10 courses. 10. They were wonderful, but no matter how moderate I was with my portions, and I was moderate (except with the pork), I couldn't help but get full. Really full. I did manage not to get unbutton-my-pants full, but, then again, I was wearing a dress. Which is to say, today I thought I'd only want to eat fruit, but I woke up starving, so I had a half of a bagel. And now, I'm unbutton-my-pants full. Still and all, it was worth it. To share in a spectacular meal generously and gorgeously prepared by a friend is an experience in life not to be missed. Thank you, Kian!

6 comments:

roni said...

[drool]

The red cooked pork with fluffy steamed buns sounds divine! FYI, at a chinese banquet, chicken (or any poultry) and fish are served with heads and feet/tails to signify "that things have a beginning and an end" (e.g., completeness or wholeness).

Robin Aronson said...

Roni, I was hoping you'd check in for this one! The pork *was* divine....and thank you for explaining about the chicken and the fish - the steamed bass did come with its head on....although the frogs legs were just that.....

roni said...

At banquets or home celebrations of lunar holidays (e.g., new year, summer and winter solstices), it is especially important for celebrants to have intact poultry or fish. All the dishes are laden with symbolic significance, and the steamed whole fish is generally considered the centerpiece, as the word for fish is also a homonym for abundance.

And to paraphrase Freud, sometimes frog legs are just frog legs. :)

Robin Aronson said...

Excellent! Thank you!

Kian said...

Robin, I am so pleased you enjoyed the banquet Monday night. It was an honor to have you there. For a while, I've been wanting to share this Chinese culture, of eating and sharing abundance among family and friends, with the general public. I'm glad I finally made this happen. Thanks for your support.

Robin Aronson said...

I'm glad you "finally" made it happen, too!