Chinese Wedding

Recently, I went to a wedding with my co-worker Kim to honor the marriage of our friend Bill, who was also a co-worker at one point.

The restaurant was located in Dorchester, MA, and was called Chau Chow Seafood Restaurant.

Upon walking towards the entrance to the restaurant, I peeked inside a window and noticed a full house. I thought to myself “this place is packed, I wonder where we will be sitting.” After entering, I then realized that the place was packed with all of Bill’s friends and family. Haha, I had no idea that there would be around 100 people!

The entire place was decorated with pictures of the newly wed couple. I couldn’t help but notice how professional all of the photos were and how many there were. A pretty penny was probably spent on all of them. In a later conversation with Bill, we did mention to him that we have never seen so many pictures and so many being taken. He replied with “This only happens once in your lifetime, so you need to remember every moment. I don’t mind all of the pictures”. Along the walls were LCD TVs that displayed Chinese music with Chinese and English subtitles, which also turned out to be a giant karaoke machine.

We were seated to our table to find a couple bottles of soda and a bottle of red wine. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the wine nor had the chance to taste it, all I remember is that it was 12.5% alcohol.

Before the dinner was served, there was a small procession of the bride’s maids, best men, and parents of the new couple. There was lots of applause and picture snapping, then we were seated and the food was brought to us.

The lights were dimmed and the music was nice and subtle Chinese. I enjoyed it even though I had no idea what was being said. The LCD monitors displayed a bunch of photos of the bride and groom together, and as they were as children. I had a good laugh out of a couple of them. All in all, they were all very beautiful.

The 1st dish was brought. A “cold” platter that consisted of slices of ham, some other meat, hot boneless spare ribs, ginger, and in the center was a big pile of what was considered noodles, and underneath the noodles were white carrots. I started off with the stuff on the border. I grabbed a little of everything. The spare ribs were great. Tender, sweet, still warm. Not off to a bad start. Next I had the ham; nothing special here, just your typical thick cut ham. Next was the mystery meat. To me, this tasted like a sort of salami, yet kind of gamy with a lot of fat. Not too thrilled, but it wasn’t something that was turning my stomach. Next were the noodles. I put some onto Kim’s plate and watched her take the first bite as I was putting some onto my plate. She mentioned to me it tasted ok, but the noodles were kind of rubbery. My turn! The noodles were indeed cold and I thought to myself “Wow. Kim is right, they are very undercooked.” Not only were they a little rubbery, but a little crunch was in there somewhere in my opinion. They had a taste of their own that tasted kind of fishy, and had a nice ginger and spice flavor. After finished my plate, a very nice Chinese couple sitting across from us asked us if we were enjoying our jellyfish!! Haha! Joke was on us!

Next was a course of an edible basket thingy that was broken open to reveal a bunch of steamed sea critters. The edges of the basket were lined with broccoli. Squid, shrimp, and scallops are what I noticed. I had a small smile on my face when I finally saw something that I knew the flavor of. I grabbed myself some shrimp and scallops. Both were very tender and had a nice refreshing taste to them. The scallops were very tender, and had no need for a knife, but still, I prefer my scallops fried with some onion rings :P I felt it was time to order my first beer. I asked the waitress what they had, and was a little disappointed to find out that they were only serving rice beers; Bud Light, Heineken, and Tsingtao. I ordered a Tsingtao, and Kim ordered a Bud Light.

The next course was what I would describe as a crab cake of sorts. It was a round ball, the size of a typical baseball, with the crab claw sticking out of it, still in the shell. Now, Kim and I were both very confused on how to eat this. We looked around and saw people breaking it open with chopsticks, picking it up by the claw and eating it like a candy apple, etc. So we decided to do what we do best, use a fork and knife! Cutting into it, you can definitely smell the crab and that usual seafood smell that follows. The flavor was nice, and I don’t know about anyone else, but I had a good amount of crab meat in mine. I did enjoy this dish.

Next was Shark fin Soup. This was an interesting dish. Kim had to tap out on this one. A huge bowl was dropped into the center of the table and our little soup bowls were filled. The soup itself smelled rather tasty, but eating was a different story. Looking around in my bowl I noticed little strands which I have seen on multiple Food Network shows and identified them as the shark fins. The person next to me was trying to tell me that they substitute crab for shark fins in America. I don’t know.. we all can believe what we want. Removing the spoon from the soup was rather difficult. The soup was so gelatinous that it was hard to keep some of it on the spoon. Finally after getting some, I was able to eat. My friend next to me was able to best describe it. It tasted like a really thick and heavy egg drop soup with tones of seafood. The dish and flavor itself wasn’t bad at all, and I did not mind it minus the crunchy strands of shark fin.

The worst was over at this point, at least that's what I was saying in my mind. The next course came. Finally something I can associate with again... in it's own way haha. Lobster cut into sections like claw, tail, head, deep fried in what it looks like a light batter and minced garlic. They were served still in the shell, but at least it was cracked open. I put my chopsticks down and grabbed my fork... no way I was getting in there with chopsticks, I'm a novice with those things. The lobster was cooked great and the flavor went well with the taste. I have no problem with this dish, other than how hard it was to get it out of the shell.

My smile widened when the next two courses were delivered at the same time. Steamed Jasmine rice and some lo-mein noodles. Both were cooked in a light oil and lightly seasoned. Great flavor that any American can enjoy, and really cleans the palette of the previous meals.

The final two meals were also delivered at the same time. Another soup and just some orange slices on a plate. The soup had a greenish color with some stuff floating in it. Kim made the remark that it looks like pea soup. I really wasn't paying attention. To me, it looked like that it would have been a cold soup, but I was wrong when I tried it. The taste unfortunately is indescribable, and not in a good way. I put it down after one sip. A couple orange slices rid myself of the taste I really didn't like much.

The wedding cake itself was very simple, and a nice finish to an interesting meal. A 3 layered vanilla sponge cake with some caramelized apples and sauce between the top and middle layers.

Overall, I really did enjoy myself. Meeting past friends I haven't seen in a while, and seeing a happy newly wed couple. The food was an experience. I didn't mind what was served, and I am perfectly happy with trying new foods and traditions that I am not accustomed to. Some things I would prefer to not eat again haha.

I guess on my Bearded Scale, I would give this wedding a 5 o'clock shadow... and not the scrubby looking type. You know, one of those well kept high profile 5 o'clockers.

May your new life together bring you lots of happiness!! Glad to see you both again!


nexus976 said...

Wow! It sounded like an episode of "No Reservations" there for a moment. You had the honor\horror of trying Shark Fin soup! Ive always been interested in the idea but you pretty much confirmed what I thought. A cultural delicacy thats probably better if youve grown up with it rather than trying it out later in life for the first time. Great descriptions of all the dishes. Good read!

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing my butt off. Why didn't you tell meutif about this beautiful event? Love Ma