The five-star hotel even laid on some Chinglish for me...
We've all had various bouts of illness over the recent 5-day May Day holiday, and we weren't able to do quite as much as we'd hoped. So we decided to finish with an expensive, but delicious, meal out.
One of Jiajia's customers had recommended a restaurant in the south of Kunming which boasts authentic German food cooked by an actual German chef. So we took a taxi there to have a May Day blowout! Unfortunately, the chef was on holiday (JD wanted to try out his German) but they were still able to serve up various sausages, seafood pie, roasted pork knuckle, fries, mustard and sauerkraut which all went down very well. Yes, we paid 2-3 times what we normally pay for a family meal, but it was some of the best foreign food I've had in Kunming and a really nice treat.
After school last Friday, Jiajia and I drove JD (and Ma) to a very posh 5* hotel near DianChi lake for a gourmet meal, courtesy of a free £100 VIP voucher from Jiajia's bank, and in celebration of JD's 10th Birthday! Ma hated it (of course), but JD loved it, chatting to our personal chef and experiencing Japanese WagYu beef, New Zealand lamb, squid, etc - all perfectly cooked in front of us.
The next morning, I was woken at 1am by flashing bedroom lights and spooky noises. I later realised it was April Fools Day and my scallywag son never misses the chance for a prank!
Despite us all having coughs and colds, we travelled to Green Lake today to have a lunch, celebrating my Birthday in a pretty (if pricey) restaurant there. Ma joined us, despite "being on her death bed" all last week (she said). Jiajia ordered a wide variety of meat and veg. JD especially loved the squid. We'd brought along a birthday cake too but, by dessert time, were all too full to eat it. So we'll tuck into that this evening.
When Jiajia took JD to his first sushi meal a month ago (I was away) he fell in love with it. He wanted to take his friends to the restaurant for his birthday, but it only seats a dozen people so we vetoed that. However this last weekend he declared that he wanted to treat Jiajia and I to a sushi meal with some of his Birthday money. Very sweet.
So we went there yesterday. JD loved it and Jiajia is happy to eat it, but it was a bit of a trial for me. I don't like seafood and it doesn't like me. I settled for a seaweed soup with minimal fishy bits, but I still woke with a gout attack this morning and I suspect it's no coincidence.
We went to a mountainside picnic area where the kids could run around and play. Lunch was a DIY barbecue - you bring your own food and then pay for charcoal and the barbecue grill to cook it on. Fun.
We shared a nice pre-Spring Festival banquet with families of JD's old Kindergarten friends last week. The other fathers got gradually drunker through the evening and were loud and tactile when Jiajia told them I had got my green card ("You are us Chinese", they slurred in broken English, hugging me!).
But towards the end of the meal they insisted on lighting up, as usual, despite me pointing out the very obvious "No Smoking" signs behind them. A fume-filled end to an otherwise lovely get-together.
Our friends returned our recent "conveyor-belt hotpot" treat by inviting JD and I (and another family) to their house, which is in our neighbourhood, for a home-made hotpot (Jiajia is away on business).
The family live on the top floor of their building and have built a glass frame over the rooftop where they can eat and look out on the city skyline. The reflection in the glass also allows you to look up and see down to your food! [see left]
Their son, Johnny, is in JD's school/year, but in a different class. They both go to the same after-school homework club though and are slowly forming a nice friendship.
We had "cross-the-bridge noodles" for lunch yesterday with a teacher friend of ours who is helping us to find a suitable tutor for JD. JD starts a new term next week and Jiajia and I are aware that we won't always be able to pick him up from school (because of our work commitments) or help him complete his homework (because of language/patience issues!). So, if we can employ someone to help, it will relieve the pressure on us and give JD some stability in his after-school care.
"Cross-the-bridge noodles" is Yunnan's most famous dish. A scalding hot chicken broth is delivered to your table along with raw ingredients such as quails' eggs, thinly sliced meat and diced mushrooms or vegetables. These are poured into the broth which quickly cooks them. The noodles are then added and it's time to tuck in! It can be a cheap lunch option, but we took our friend to the most famous noodle restaurant in Kunming for some quality eats!
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