Tag Archives: China

Man vs Lobster @ Zheng He

TheCalmDev @ Zheng He - Man vs Lobster
TheCalmDev @ Zheng He – Man vs Lobster

Unfair fight. Lobster alive or on the plate, notwithstanding.

Little did I know that I was going in for combat when I walked in with my dearest friend at Zheng He by the waterfront at Mina’a Salaam. Priority seating, with uninterrupted views of the Burj Al Arab changing gels in the evening, was quite the highlight. And then the food started rolling out.

The Dragon Boat Festival @ Zheng He
The Dragon Boat Festival @ Zheng He

To celebrate the dragon boat festival, there was a special dimsum menu. Truth is, whatever the festival, I am always up for dimsums. Chicken, prawn and mushrooms, tempered, and stuffed inside delicate translucent steamed bags is something I can do on repeat mode every evening.  The only thing that beat it was a crispy golden king prawn in Chinese mustard and spicy mango. Our kind hostess from the Orient, oriented us and patiently answered our questions. Spicy mango, not spiced mango, said she. This appetizer is highly recommended. In fact, I do not mind having it as a main course.

And then on followed a kingly sight of soups, duck, shrimps, octopus and scallops. My co-eater asked for the whole Canadian lobster in black pepper sauce. It didn’t alarm me, as I thought it would be an equal share of the crustacean. When it arrived, I was left to wrestle it all by myself. Understand this, I had half the Tasmanian Sea inside my stomach and then I had to eat the entire lobster! (Ideally this line would have sounded better with an expletive.)

The lobster on the far right. What I ate was bigger!
The lobster on the far right. What I ate was bigger!

And so, I set out for the impossible. The head and the tail shells on the plate taunted me as I slowly reached out my chopsticks for the chunks of juicy lobster meat flavoured with the essence of the Sichuan area. The taste was incredible, as was the texture. My hands picked up momentum, picking and delivering piece after piece until my mouth was unable to keep up. Chewing and swallowing on an almost-full stomach is not an easy task. I was thinking of greater glories like my name on Zheng He’s aesthetic walls discussing my superhuman feat; or comforting things like eating in my loosest pyjama in front of TV. I wasn’t prepared to give up easily on this deliciousness on my plate. I was about 7 pieces more to go before fame and glory would throw their garlands around my neck. I wasn’t looking at the Burj, or at the table next to me with 5 gorgeous girls daintily eating their Chinese food. And then there were 3, left. Lobster pieces. I felt like Achilles in the siege of Troy. To destroy a 1.5 kilo lobster all by myself is no less satisfying. With my plate polished off clean, I stood up akimbo, much to the surprise of my bemused friend, the 5 beautiful co-diners and our Chinese stewardess. I told her stoically that I was adjusting the lobster inside my stomach and she did have a strange look on her face. Hah! You should have seen mine – it was like Po with his mouth filled with buns.

Ni hao! And how!

#BurpAndBelch Meter: 5 buuuuuurps (sorry, was I too loud?)

#5WordFoodReview: Eat Pray Eat! Then Repeat!

Zheng He's - Mina A' Salam Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Of Burps and Belches

A lot has been philosophised on burping and belching. Some have postulated on why it is better than their nether cousin. In fact, I noticed a cultural connection about this natural phenomenon in the movie Ben Hur when Ben-Hur had to burp to show courtesy to his host.

In the far East, in China and Japan, it is considered table manners to burp to show how excellent the food was. Not sure if this is what is done in fine dine restaurants there.

Such is the case in a few European and sub-Saharan countries, as well. Burping is a sign of satisfaction. You had your food, and you loved it as well.

In India, burping is as natural as monsoons. You may burp before or after your meal and nobody would really care. Unless your burp sounds like the creaking of an un-oiled iron gate, you are welcome to belch all you want.

There was another aspect to burping when I first held my little one and had to pat him to get him to burp. As a first-time father, I didn’t know what a ‘baby burp’ sounded like, so I did take help from the nurse at hand. Gosh, and the sound that came from my little one tickled me no end. I would wait for him to finish feeding so I could help him burp!

While burping is considered to be courtesy in many places, it is also taken to be a sign of uncivilised, uncouth mannerism. To burp and not to excuse yourself is perhaps a greater sin! In a very strange way, it is considered unfitting of a woman to show her sign of satisfaction!

Whatever (and however) you enjoy your burp, truth is that a burp is a reminder of your last meal. Make it count! 🙂

#Burp&Belch

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