Of Chung-kung the Master said: “If the calf of a brindled cow be red and horned, though men be shy to offer him, will the hills and streams disdain him?”
Hmmm...after much thought I say: "Eat him anyway!"
So for the first week in the PRC Paddy's program director, Mr. Kwan, has treated me to a moveable feast throughout the city. Mr. Kwan, a man of refinement and taste, enjoys showing off Shanghai's food scene and has been impressed with Paddy's adventurousness when it comes to eating.
While in Beijing Sully introduced me to Muslim food - as made by the Uighurs, a Central Asian ethnic minority from Xinjiang province - and I'm hooked. So Mr. Kwan sent us off to Aini Bayi Restaurant where we tucked into platters of mutton and chicken. Two special favorites were 'Big Plate Chicken' (on lower left), I added the ribbon noddles to soak up the rich spicey brown gravy, and Nan Zhou (right platter), wonderful, thick-cut flat bread fried with heavily spiced (cumin mostly) lamb and onions. Of course all washed down with copious amounts of Xinjiang Beer. Outstanding all around! Of course the Delicate Flower found it all difficult to digest and appreciate (I will never respect anyone who willingly accompanies a meal with Sprite!); I think he ate the cup of plain youghert, which Paddy used to dredge his chunks of animal flesh. We finished the flesh feast off with 'Hand Grabbing Meat' (below), a platter of boiled lamb rib, staked ribs alternately layered with fat and served with carrots and onions. The meat was succulent, though, in Paddy's opinion, rather bland, and was supposed to be dipped in a side dish of salt. Not my favorite. I did, of course, enjoy the hand grabbing.
Taeko, being Japanese, of course refused the Hand Grabbing, and dug in with the chops. Her assessment of the meat fest: "Yang pai hao chi - lamb rib delcious!"
Well it's almost noon. Mr. Kwan and lunch awaits.
adendum: Well, we were to dine at one of Shanghai's better Sichuan restaurants for lunch today, but as you can see in the photo it was rather difficult finding a table, or the restaurant for that matter. Says something about the pace of change here in Shanghai and the construction boom that has taken hold over the past decade. Apparently, in just the past five years, the city has built office space equivalent to all of the offices in New York City. So no Sichuan hot pot, but piff paff, left turn and we're into another Uighar hangout with more spicey grilled lamb. (I'm going to be so fat by the time I make it back to DC. Oh, and Delicate Flower is really wracking up the points in the little game of perpetual annoyance he's playing.)
A contented Paddy tucks into another heap of spicey animal with Mr. Kwan. Tres bon appetite I'd say.