As an International Business major, any kind of cultural experience draws me in without much resistance on my part. This past weekend, I had the delight of going out to an unusually authentic Chinese restaurant, courtesy of my Chinese friend, Chenye (Christina) Lu. One would think that the closest to real Chinese food you could get in St. Louis, MO was something like P.F. Chang's. False. Somewhere between downtown and suburbia lies a small pocket of authentic Chinese restaurants, grocery stores, and other shops. Christina led us into her favorite restaurant through the back door, greeting the owners as if they were family. Everything about this place smelled, looked, and tasted exactly like China! It reminded me a bit of my trip to China, except right here in St. Louis.
You may notice that you cannot read anything listed on the above menu (unless you speak Chinese). Well, neither can I. Luckily, my trusty friend Christina ordered everything for the table, and I offered up my empty stomach at will to dishes like these:
Pig ear, duck (all parts), egg, tofu, and vegetable
Chicken with veggies (my personal favorite)
Top it off with a little bit of this....
The owner was quite impressed that all of us were using chop sticks, although I reached for the spork a time or two myself. I must admit that I was a bit tentative to dive into dishes like pig ear... but it was all part of the experience. The restaurant even had Chinese newspapers and authentic Chinese drinks. I love being an International Business major for reasons like being able to transport a miniature version of one's home country to another. I love having friends like Christina who bring me to places and expose me to other cultures. So even if your travel budget may be low, you can still engage in cultural experiences, with the right guidance, wherever you live.
Here we are as a group with the owners and chef.
Thank you, Christina, for being our mealtime ambassador!