Friday night I attended the Berlitz New Year’s Celebration. The invitation list included the staff, teachers, and current and former students. There were about 40 people in attendance. I sat with my teacher, another teacher Chinese teacher who was very nice, and the director’s 16-year old son. It was held in a churrascaria which is a Brazilian restaurant where waiters come around to the table with all kinds of skewered meats. It’s a carnivore’s delight. The Chinese waiters were cute in their gaucho uniforms that included cowboy hats, jeans, denim shirts and red bandanas tied around their necks. I’m chuckling as I write this. 🙂 The buffet had grilled veggies, corn-on-the-cob, braised celery (which is delicious but very Chinese), fried rice, and all kinds of typical Chinese fare. This was all done to the accompaniment of a roving Brazilian trio that consisted of a drummer, guitarist, and a scantily clad woman who offered up tambourines to the diners and then practically gave out lap dances. Actually, she did do a lap dance. She was wearing what looked like a tube dress that barely covered her and was about 3 dress sizes too small. She must have used double-sided carpet tape because there is no way that the law of physics kept it in up and down at the same time. The restaurant was quite a fusion of cultures and the Chinese must love it because the place was full. Like China, it was loud, chaotic, and over the top.
So…imagine my surprise when one of the meats that was offered was camel! Yep, camel. I know there are camels in China, we saw them as we walked the souvenir junket at the Great Wall. 😉 I also know that camel meat is eaten but in China? Now we’re tossing the Middle East into the mix? I thought I was an ignorant American but my 3 dinner companions were also surprised. They sent him away but I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to try camel! I called him back, red bandana and all, and we all ended up getting a piece to try. **************************************IT WAS THE WORST THING I HAVE EVER EATEN!*********************************
It was even worse than pig blood custard! Flavor wise it really didn’t taste like much of anything. It was the texture that was so gut-wrenching awful. It was like eating a car tire that had been mixed with gristle. Now that I think about it that was the flavor as well. Somehow I choked down the bite that I took. My teacher gagged and very politely spit out the remains in her napkin. The other Chinese teacher didn’t even bother after she saw my teacher’s reaction. Director’s son ate his whole slice, I do not know how. Perhaps we were served the hump and the delicacy is the rump. Maybe it needs to be slow cooked in a sauce and not barbecued. Do the Chinese even know how to prepare camel properly? I have no idea! (I don’t think so!) All I know is that that box has been checked. No need to revisit camel tasting.
3:30 PM – 48°