A few days ago Julianne and I were taken out by a Chinese couple who are awesome friends of ours.
We went to a German-Chinese fusion buffet restaurant.
Our friends ordered and set up our bill with the server, and we went to fill up our plates and then came back.
That was when the Meat Carver Man began coming by periodically with skewers of different kinds of meats. He’d set up and cut off some meat for us and we’d each eat some.
After about the fifth appearance of Meat Carver Man I began to wonder how many DIFFERENT kinds of meat our friends had ordered for us.
Our friend, after hearing my question, leaned forward with a big smile on his face and said, “There are over 30 different kinds of meat in this restaurant.”
I’m pretty sure if there had been a video camera trained on Julianne’s face and mine that we blanched simultaneously at the images of what eating THIRTY different kinds of meat would do to our digestive systems . . .
Our friend must have seen this because he then said, “Each day they choose 20 to put on the menu.”
Oh, ONLY 20? Lol! I then told our friends a story about my first year in Korea and how the Korean teachers took me to a raw seafood restaurant where they ordered more than 20 different kinds of fish and repeatedly kept ordering me to eat and eat and eat . . . I then said “later that night I had to spend a lot of time in the bathroom.”
The word “bathroom” in this context lead to a discussion about how Chinese people say “WC” for toilet/washroom and how “WC” stands for “water closet” (anyone who thinks American English is dominant in China needs to teach and live here before saying that!). After exploring the origins and variations of the words we returned to ‘spending hours in the bathroom’ and what it meant–which was explained in Chinese by the English teacher to her husband because he wasn’t sure what I was alluding to, lol.
I think maybe five or six more different types of meats were delivered by Meat Carver Man before a cessation in the meat-blitzkrieg suddenly halted . . . I realized that sometime during one of my trips to the buffet tables my friend must have altered the order so that Julianne and I wouldn’t have to be forced into eating more than we felt was healthy or safe for us.
This was incredibly awesome of him to do because in most of my experiences in Korea, which is my general basis of contrast and comparison for Chinese culture, whenever this kind of situation would happen my Korean host/colleagues/friends would not be able to catch the ‘hints’ I’d start giving that I didn’t want to stuff myself to the point of illness or spending hours in the bathroom just in order to allow them to fulfill their ideas of what ‘good hospitality’ means (which all too often is about what the host wants versus what the guest NEEDS in Korea).
Kudos to my friend for listening to Julianne and I.