(Written by guest blogger Chris Devonshire-Ellis).
Being in the somewhat dubious position of attending various seminars, conferences, events and round tables with a variety of different wings of the Chinese Government, from local level to the occasional State Banquet, I wonder just what is it with the Chinese mentality over cuisine and drinks?
Often on offer – to supposed ‘distinguished guests’ – is a mish mash of badly prepared cuisine – local ‘delicacies’ , Great Wall wine and Bai Jui. Now, I don’t want to diss Chinese food – some is excellent, but I have yet to be impressed when it’s served up at a Government location. Such as the “Fresh Sea Fish” I was proudly given in Urumqi as a guest of the Xinjiang Government. Great, but not sea food please in the city furthest inland on the entire planet. It tasted like it had been a week out of the sea at least, and it almost certainly was. Why? Xinjiang has, for example, excellent lamb. But maybe that’s a bit too ethnic. Not Han enough, and too much Uyhgur influences.
Then there is the annoying trait of offering Great Wall wine. Why? It’s crap. At RMB38 a bottle what else could it be? But to serve it to ‘distinguished guests’? Well it’s not really very distinguished. Yet that’s what the International Olympic Committee were given last week. In France, you’re served Pomerol. Yes, that may be French, but I can imagine the IOC may well be wishing they’d chosen Paris instead of the ‘banquet’ given. Fresh jelly fish anyone ?
Who are the Chinese trying to kid? Foreigners, that “Great Wall” wine is a decent drop? Or that local delicacies are indeed palatable?
We’re not that stupid. It’s cheap mass catering for the long nose barbarians, inflicted on people who contribute a great deal to China.
I bet that the Party Officials sit back with their imported Chateau Petrus, Malt Whiskies and Cuban cigars later and giggle amongst themselves at what another method they were able to use to insult “foreigners” by feeding us rubbish and the local, cheap and nasty wine.
God help them when they really start to need foreign investment. A change of menu and attitude may well be in order.