This week I was invited to join some of the other moms that live in Qingdao for a lunch at the Le Meridien Hotel, held in an innovative restaurant called “The Latest Recipe”. There were a couple of fathers there too, but unfortunately Justin had to work. I managed to to switch out my last lesson for the semester, and was therefore able to go. This might be one of very few lunches I get to attend with the other moms, because unlike the majority of them – I will be a working mom. This meant that I was extra excited to make the most of this day with some other expats moms, most of whom go to our church. The lunch was 110 rmb (a special price for our group, I think) and it was a buffet, so I skipped my 10am snack… and baby was HUNGRY when we got there!!
The Latest Recipe features great all-day dining, presented through its open kitchen with live action stations where the chef prepare freshly made international cuisines right in front of you. For dessert the restaurant has a pastry buffet and ice cream “teppanyaki”. The on-site deli also serves homemade breads, cakes and other delicacies for take away. It is located on the first floor of the Le Meridien Qingdao Hotel, next to the hotel lobby.
I can’t deny it – I stood sulking at the sashimi (not allowed during pregnancy) and freshly baked bread (gives me pregnancy-related heartburn) counters. But once I was over that I moved onto the other areas and tried a little bit of everything that appealed to me. For a few hours it no longer felt like I was in China, ahhh.. Bliss! The whole time I wished that Justin was there and, I must say, I felt guilty to be eating all that good food while he worked. I will have to spoil him with a buffet lunch somewhere nice after Thailand. Or better yet… IN Thailand!
You are probably wondering what I ate – especially my mother-in-law, who is probably thinking that they only serve duck’s blood, chicken feet, fish balls, and pig snout at any buffet found in China. Well, here you go
Sue everyone – here’s what this pregnant lady managed to squeeze into this already full belly…
Round 1 – This may not look too interesting, but I took only a small spoonful of everything I wanted, so that I could get a taste for what I wanted more of. There was lots to choose from!
This section had AMAZING roast potatoes and meats in a variety of gravies and sauces. There was a bowl of crispy strips of bacon that kept being filled, but you had to act fast because everyone wanted a bit of that action! I cheated a bit on the no-bread rule, and had a small piece of incredible buttery garlic bread. Maybe all the butter negated the bread because it didn’t give me heartburn – BONUS!
Round 2 – I might be shy around strangers during round one by trying to hold off on diving into the desserts, but by round 2 I don’t care anymore. I got a plate of mini desserts with more mains for my second helping of food.
The best part of my desert collection was the marble cheesecake at the back! It wasn’t the most amazing cheesecake, but it was much better than the others. I’m not a big fan of Chinese cakes – they lack flavour and are mostly just blah. I was misled by the tempting-look of these little babies (they get me every time), but in the end I only ended up trying a little bite of each and eating the whole slice of cheesecake.
Hmmm… Chocolate fondue! Can you believe that this chocoholic actually skipped the chocolate fondue! Yup, you heard right – no chocolate coated skewers of fruit or marshmallows for me. This baby likes savoury foods, so my usual sweet-tooth has kind of disappeared!
Oh, there it is! Even at the fanciest buffets in China, you WILL still find chicken feet!!
And they were right there next to my FAVOURITE areas, the cheese and the sashimi. Yucky!
Round 3 – Although my belly started to feel pretty full after round 1, but round 3 I was on a roll and kept wanting to eat more and more! The cauliflower gratin (left), roast potato (middle), and roast beef slices wrapped baby carrots (bottom of picture) were incredible, and so was the crispy garlic bread (top right) which I mentioned earlier. I am honesty a sucker for cheese so I could have eaten a whole plate of just cheese and tomato slices with mustard on them. I guess living in the “East” leaves me hungering for the smallest luxuries of the “West”!
Round 4 – Back to the dessert counter once more! You can’t see but I also got a few more crackers and slices of cheese, plus a couple more crab sushi rolls (the only kind there I was allowed to eat). I picked three pretty awesome ice cream flavours, and topped them with chocolate covered balls with a crispy filling.
I can’t say for sure what this was bit it seemed like some kind of set custard, with a layer of orange syrup over it. I took it because it look pretty, but it hardly compared to my ice cream bowl – which was a perfect way to end my buffet lunch!
After lunch we all went up to the 6th floor to listen to a presentation by Libby Stephens, a cross-cultural transitions consultant. She spoke about Third Culture Kids (or “TCK” for short), and how to raise them while being sensitive to their distinct personalities and environments. I will blog more about this later as Justin and I will, from June, have our own little TCK.
“A third culture kid is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside their parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.” -Pollock & Van Reken
It was a great lunch with the ladies and a very informative talk on Raising TCK Kids by Libby Stephen. This was a topic am I very interested in, so I was happy that I could make the presentation.