Monday, June 16, 2008

China Day 17: Illusion Food

We left the tea plantation regretfully and drove in the rain to a wonderful lunch restaurant, located in a bookstore - could anything be better? The restaurant had recently been redecorated with round tables and fabric-skirted chairs, but it had previously had sunken tables and chairs at floor level like some Japanese restaurants. One table was left in the previous decor:
because in 1998, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton ate there and the table is preserved as a sort of a shrine.
I ate at the restaurant anyway. :^)

The food was very tasty, but the presentation was what made it special. This soup
was colored with green tea powder to make the yin-yang pattern; these lotus root patties
had turnips, I think, carved into lotuses on false stems, the fish
is actually a vegetarian dish made of taro (as featured in The Haunted Monastery, one of my favorite Judge Dee books), and even the vegetables were arranged into a delicate fan:
All the dishes had delicate, distinct flavors too, unlike some restaurants where everything tastes alike. After eating we had a delightful time browsing the bookstore before we headed back to the hotel, where I did absolutely nothing for the rest of the afternoon!

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