Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Xiamen: dinner at Da Feng Yuan

On the evening of December 30, we had a big family dinner at Da Feng Yuan restaurant on the Xiamen University campus.  We were seated in a private room, which is the norm for large groups.

An introduction to moderate-to-upscale restaurant dining in China: these meals are much like tasting menus served family-style; i.e., a large-to-very-large number of dishes shared between a [usually] large number of people.  Each place setting includes a soup bowl, wet towel or napkin, glass, plate, chopsticks, chopstick stand, and sometimes a vinegar dish.  Rice is frequently not served, but don't let that fool you: chances are you'll still be extremely full by the end of the meal.

And so we begin.  First, crispy spiced pork, served on heated rocks (gimmicky but pretty):

Crisped taro layered on top of duck:

Clams served on top of mung bean noodles (probably my favorite dish of the night):

Some kind of skinny little fried fish:

Distal ends of chicken tarsometatarsuses with sugar snap peas, lotus root, and bell pepper (yes, you read that right; this required quite a bit of after-the-fact Googling for me to figure out.  This dish won the Preparation Overkill Award of the night.  The distal end of chicken tarsometatarsus is considered a delicacy, but according to my taste buds, it is no different from any other chicken cartilage):

Steamed fish:

Corn soup:

Sea cucumber, bamboo shoot, and shitake mushroom:

Mian xian (really skinny noodles, like the Asian equivalent of angel-hair pasta):

Some kind of skinny mushroom in a slightly sweet and aromatic preparation:

Sweet potato greens:

And a fruit plate to finish: