Thursday, October 11, 2012

International Buffet

My students wanted to take us to dinner again after Kirk taught them some tennis lessons, and this time they took us downtown to Four Seasons International House for the Buffet.
The restaurant was on the third or fourth floor of a high-rise building downtown near Tianfu (say "tea-en-foo") Square, the main center of Chengdu.  We were seated at our table and on our placemats was a "map" of all the different foods and where they were located around the restaurant.  Then there was a suggested "order" that you consume the foods in, including the first suggestion to "wash your hands to begin with".  (The Chinese are making efforts like these to raise the personal hygiene of its people.)  Our hostesses wanted to start with the seafood.

 There were no 'crab pliers' to break open the crab legs.  "We just use our teeth", said Vivian.  (Uhhh, not when your husband is a dentist!)  There were several kinds of crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, squid and other seafoods. 
Doesn't this look so pretty?
Just remember that every seashell you pick up on the beach used to have a living creature inside of it, and I think I've tasted each one!  I thought I'd better at least get my money's worth from the buffet, and the girls assured me it was great.  I didn't actually love any of the crustaceans or oysters, but I did like the crabs and shrimp.  The crabs took lots of work to get the meat out, and was served cold with no drawn butter.  But it was tasty enough.
Yep, that's an escargot (snail).  It's rubbery and chewy, like the squid I tried another time.  Later, the girls brought me some soup.  "And what kind is this?"  "Oh, it has an animal from France in it--with (and here she pantomimed two protrusions coming from the head)"  I thought to myself "Some kind of sheep or goat?"  No, I scooped up from the bottom, and there was the snail.  I had one sip.  Vivian assured me it was very good for my health!

I decided to get it over with.  I tried a chicken foot.  It was like greasy KFC.  I admit, I only had a small bite.

Kirk was amazed that I would so bravely try it all.  He decided to play it safe, and ate jell-o......with his chopsticks.   

It's amazing how he can't pick up anything else with chopsticks, but he managed to snag the jell-o.  Pretty funny.

The restaurant was quite a conglomerate of unique areas, each specializing in their own food.  We had pizza and penne pasta in cream sauce which was delicious!  There was Japanese sushi and noodles and congee (porridge) from all the Asian countries. 
Japanese Sushi

I think this looks like American-type food, but I was too full to check it out!

They had a special children's area that had chicken nuggets shaped like stars, many snack-type foods I didn't recognize, and a chocolate fountain with bite-sized fruits and pastry and even marshmallows to dip in it!  I particularly enjoyed seeing the characters in balloons hanging over the area--I recognized the "Angry Bird" immediately. (Look below the chandelier in the center of the photo.)
And look at the backs of the chairs--they went up about 10 feet!  We kept going back for more, even though our placemats warned us:  "Consume all food at your own pace.  Don't over stuffed."  After we had eaten all we could, we watched the girls go back a few more times for more food.  For tiny Asian girls, they can really put it away! 

We did have enough room left for two trips to the Haagen Daz ice cream and dessert buffet.  Most of the pastry-type desserts reminded us of Germany...beautiful to look at, but not really very sweet or flavorful.  We had a great time, ate some interesting foods, and will have to remember this place for future binging episodes!  On the way out, we noticed the unique vodka bar inside a plexiglass room.
 Seats and tables carved from solid ice.  We were glad we aren't drinkers!

Maybe they'll have turkey here at Thanksgiving......

1 comment:

  1. You are such a brave soul! I'm in Canada and can't wait to get home!