Friday, February 27, 2009

New Year Celebration in Beijing

After our visit to the beautiful Summer Palace, we proceeded to Joanne's showroom to meet up with her colleagues and friends. All of us then made our way to our little new year gathering, which was a sumptuous dinner at a Hainanese restaurant. It was, as usual, freezing to walk in the night.

We reached this street of brightly lit restaurants with a big arch at the entrance.

Road to dinner place

Guess what? The first shop I saw was Starbucks! Isn't it cute that Starbucks is operating in a very Chinese and traditional building? This is really east meeting west!

Starbucks in a Chinese building!

This was the restaurant we went to on that night. It was brightly lit from the outside, and had beautiful decor inside. This restaurant apparently specialized in Yunnan (云南) food.

*Update: Upon checking with Joanne, it turns out that the food we had was from Yunnan and not Hainan. Oops!

Dinner place

We started with a hot pot of Chinese tea.

Nice pot of tea

There was this plate of four seasons platter, where I only ate the Unagi! *LOL* It's definitely funny to spot unagi in a Yunnan dish.

Four seasons platter

Then there was the usual freshwater fish as with most of our meals. This one was did with sour and spicy vegetables - too spicy to be exact. Not to mention with lots of bones. I didn't quite like this dish.

Fresh water fish

Here are the other dishes that we ate that night. There were so many to eat that we had a hard time catching up with the waiters clearing up our tables! It was like every 5 minutes, someone came in with a new dish and we had to clear something from the table to make way for the new dish.



Various Yunnan dishes

Out of all the dishes, I enjoyed the roasted pork ribs the most. It's the third picture from the bottom, on the left column. It was very fragrant and crispy on the outside, but tender inside. :)

I met some of Joanne's workers/colleagues there too. Presenting to you, authentic Beijing girls! They were nothing short of friendly and warm.

The warm Beijing girls

And this is my new found friend, pretty Chao Jie. Over the last few days in Beijing, we spent a lot of time together and I indeed managed to learn up quite a lot of Mandarin from chatting with her! Even my mother was amazed that we could sustain a conversation for a few hours! And the guy next to her is her husband.

Pretty Chao Jie and husband

Look at our table! No empty space for any new dish. We were definitely feasting like there's no tomorrow. *LOL* And there was so much leftover food that night that every one of us had something to tapao back.

Group picture

After the filling dinner, we went on to the next location for our next entertainment! It was just within walking distance, across a lake.

Brightly lit discos/pubs

The club we went to was festively decorated due to the Christmas/New Year season. There was also a Chinese band performing on the stage. Obviously, I had no idea what they were singing or talking about. I was mostly spending my time playing dice with the girls at my table.

Interior of club

A group picture before we started drinking into the night! Well I had Chinese tea if you must know. :P

Joanne, mom, Chao Jie and witch

The girls again

Halfway through the night, the performers on stage got the crowd excited with games and quizzes. There was one game where the singer announced a certain phone number on stage, and the first person who sent an SMS to that number would get to win a prize! This girl from our group (so sorry, I forgot the names!) managed to get her SMS through and she was called upstage. When she was up there, the rest of her girlfriends kept screaming and asked her to sing! Apparently she was a very good singer and was not shy too! She gladly complied to their requests. Man she was good! She sang solo up there, with no lyrics and no hint of nervousness. And with such grace too! I know I wouldn't be able to even stand up there without feeling the accelerated heartbeat.


After that, we were also treated to eye candy in the form of a hot and sexy belly-dancer. She looked very young, perhaps 15 or 16 years old, but she could dance and twist really well. Needless to say, she got all eyes hooked on her during the 15 minutes of her performance, especially guys'. *LOL*

Sexy dancer

These are the guys who were with us that night. That is, before they got drunk! :)

The guys: Liew, someone, Chao Jie's hubby

By midnight, the performers on stage were singing a Hacken Lee song, perhaps the ONLY song that I was familiar with the whole night I was there. And there was the countdown and cheering and glasses clinking. Just like that, it was another year. Too bad Saucer wasn't with me. Next year, definitely! :)


foongpc said...

Yes, funny to have Starbucks in a traditional Chinese building.

Also funny to see unagi in a Hainanese dish!

Both looked a little out of place. Haha!

Must had lots of fun at the night club! : )

khengsiong said...

Hmm... I never know Hainanese cuisine is so spicy...

I also notice that most of the fish eaten in China are fresh water fish. But the Chinese are really good in 'spitting' out the bones, LOL...

Oh yeah, the Starbucks... Starbucks actually opened an outlet in the Forbidden City, but the nationalist Chinese made noise, thinking that it was a cultural invasion. In the end the outlet was closed down.

khengsiong said...

I suspect you were having Henanese food, not Hainanese food. Henan Province is near Sichuan, and its food is spicy.

iamthewitch said...

foongpc: Haha, didn't really do much in the night club except for playing dice games and watching shows/band. Not really a clubbing person. :P

khengsiong: LOL, really? It's Henan? I am really not sure, I didn't even know Henan exists! Maybe you're right and I have mistaken them. Thanks for pointing out! :)

iamthewitch said...

khengsiong: Thanks to you for pointing out, I double checked with my host in Beijing and it turns out that the food was not Hainan food, but Yunnan food! :)