Nov 252005
We are developing a little bit of our own traditions here. For the last three Thanksgiving holidays, we have been here in China. We could go and have a traditional Thanksgiving holiday meal in one of the hotels…many Americans do this. But in general, we don’t like eating Western food here. And even if it was OK, it would not be as good as my mother’s (and sister’s and Aunt Gayles) Thanksgiving cooking. And even if, by chance, I found a place that made Thanksgiving food as good as they make it, would I care? I mean, Thanksgiving food is not great food…its Turkey, which is a rather sour tasting bird, with gravy (i.e. fat), stuffing (not sure what that actually is), cranberry (mmm good), matza ball soup…uh…wrong holiday.

So we go to have Beijing Duck on Thanksgiving. And we go to a restaurant called QuanJuDe. The Quan means whole (I think), I don’t know what Ju means, and De means morality. Or something like that. When Nixon came to China in the 1970s, he ate at the original QuanJuDe restaurant in Beijing. So there is some history behind the restaurant. As I recall the story, Beijing Duck used to be made by slowly cooking a live duck, forcing it to gorge itself on sugar water. Eventually the duck died of heat exhaustion, but not until it gulped down a lot of sugar, making its meat very sweet.

I don’t think they prepare the duck like this anymore. In fact, I’m not really sure that the QuanJuDe in Suzhou (located on the corner of Gangjiang Road and Renmin Road) is part of the Beijing chain, or is a copy-right infringing rip-off of the famous Beijing restaurant. The menu is much more Suzhou-afied. A lot of shrimp and crab dishes. Less meat. No Yanjing Beer (a really good beer brewed only in Beijing). Everything was sweeter than we remembered it.

We ate half a duck. There was not a lot of meat, but there was a lot of fatty skin. We liked it a lot, but we would have liked to have more meat. You are supposed to put the meat on a small pancake thing, poor on a little “duck sauce” (I think that’s Hoisin, or HaiXian sauce), add some onions, and then eat.

We also ordered a bowl of duck-wanton soup…pretty good. Some Northern mushroom soup…very good. A cold cucumber dish…eh…not as good as in my favorite DongBei (NorthEastern ) restaurant, and some greens.

Haga and I are thankful to be together with Akiva. We are thankful that our families are in good health and thankful for the love of friends and family. Akiva is thankful for his toys, anything he can put into his mouth, and the love of his parents.

 Posted by at 10:19 am

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