2015-06-03 13.15.31

Fortune cookies are unknown in China. In fact, most of the time you don’t get desserts on the menu in restaurants. But when you slide open the door in an ice-cream chest you see a really large number of colourful packets. It would be fun to trace the history of ice cream in a country where sweets are not a big thing. Many of the flavours are pretty exotic, I haven’t always figured out what I’m tasting. The Family has more experience in these matters, but she can’t always figured it out either. That didn’t keep us from trying them out again and again, especially since Beijing seems to have slid into summer a little early. I guess part of the fun is that we can’t read the wrappers.

Can anyone help with the wrappers in the photo?

A long lunch

2015-05-12 12.46.45
2015-05-12 12.46.55
2015-05-12 12.52.26

China is going through an anti-corruption drive. One of the ways it manifests itself is that the large official lunches are no longer paid for. Instead you pay for your own lunch; as one of my colleagues said, "no free lunch". This does not mean that the meal is substantially smaller. In the photos alongside you can see some of the things that we had one day. The incomplete description refers to chicken. Through whatsapp The Family has already told my cousins and hers about the donkey that I ate for lunch. The nicest comment to come back was "he is brave". The slices of donkey meat were served cold in a soya sauce, and did not taste very exotic.

The unfortunate outcome of the new government policy is that you no longer have lunch with your youngest colleagues because they prefer to go to a corner noodle shop, where the price of lunch is about half of what we pay. Maybe we should start doing that just for the pleasure of getting to know everyone at work.