Tag Archives: Chinese food

Eating out with my Chinese Family

Eating out with my Chinese family or mostly with my in-laws is always a very special occasion. Not because it happens so rarely but due to their interesting behavior which includes that mother-in-law is always right and father-in-law is very careful.

There is something like a pattern to the way everything works out. It usually starts when deciding where and what to eat. Of course I get always asked what I would like to eat but somehow plans change and I get for example not my visit to my favorite BBQ place a second time during our stay! (So evil people, oh how I suffer). This is due to one simple reason, we get invited out of nowhere by other people for the evening or next day so my beloved BBQ is on hold until there is a time slot available.

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After all this is settled we need to arrive in time which never works out. Somehow we are always late, for example we should be there at 1pm but we just start leaving by 1pm. But here again it has one very simple reason. Mother-in-law is the one who gets to know what time we should be there but tells us that we should leave by 1pm. So when we arrive she says that she thought it was agreed to leave by 1pm and not to arrive by that time! Sounds weird and it certainly is without being able to provide any further information on why this happens every time (my wife is also confused).

The next hurdle begins when sitting down at our table. Here it starts immediately with father-in-law taking all our tableware and clean it with the wipes he took along. These wipes are dry so all what happens is that in case there was any dirt or similar on them he just spreads it evenly out. Next it’s the turn for mother-in-law by putting the chopsticks into the tea to kill the bacteria. That the tea is already on a temperature to drink and thus not that suitable to fight of germs does not matter. Even better, she fills up one cup of tea and “cleans” each other cup by pouring this very tea from cup to cup resulting once again in a very nice spreading of dirt if it ever was somewhere.

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Mother-in-law has her tea ready

As I wrote in another article so long time ago the most important step is actually before we sit down. In here I have to observe where exactly mother-in-law or any other aunty or grandma is sitting and from there I have to choose the seat furthest away from them. The importance of this step can be explained in a very simple way: survival! Whenever I sit too close to them my plate just keeps on piling more food and whatever I try, I cannot eat up everything. As I was raised in Europe you usually learn to eat everything on you plate which can be in China very quickly be a death sentence (for your waist).

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Grandma is very quick to pack up my plate with food

In case there are some leftovers my MIL has always few plastic bags with her or just asks the staff for some food boxes. This might strike you as pretty normal but this food is not for us, nono, it is for the wild cats she feeds in the yard. No matter what food it is or how spicy, she brings it to the cats. These animals are fed so well that they already ignore the occasional mouse sprinting by them but what am I saying, there are of course no mice according to mother-in-law!

After all of this is over the paying starts. When it is just us with the in-laws it does not really matter but as soon as other people are there the battle starts who has to pay. As this is very common in China I won’t go any further detail besides that I have already seen mother-in-law racing one of her friends through a restaurant to see who will be first able to pay…

 

And now some pictures just to make you a bit hungry

 

What are you experiences when going out to eat?

Mother in law visiting

I have mentioned it plenty of times before: Mom in law will be visiting us in February. And as you are a careful reader of this blog you also know it is because her grandson will be born in that month. Basically she will be here to help us out. Basically…but my wife and me know also the other reason, she is especially here to spend hours a day in the shopping malls looking for stuff to buy. However she never buys anything anyways except stealing hours of our lives away…

In the past months we both came up with a plan how to survive with mom in law (the detailed plan can be found here https://crazychinesefamily.com/2013/10/28/how-to-make-life/). But we are not that cruel to think only about ourselves so actually we created also a little plan on how to make the stay enjoyable for her. Here are some of the main points of that plan.

 

Food

She is Chinese, my wife is Chinese = they love food. Problem is that my wife’s mom is not making the best food other than some noodle dishes and jiaozi 饺子.Honestly, I am not a big fan of her food and in my opinion my wife makes much better food (she agrees). This leads to the need of visiting Chinese restaurants on a more frequent level than usual. Because my wife and me did not fear any hardships during the past years in discovering new Chinese restaurants in our area, we have a handful of good ones to visit. They are a bit different from the usual restaurants as they usually two different menus. There is one menu for Finnish people and one menu for Chinese people. The menu for the Finnish people is obviously less spicy, less well tasting and has less variety. Sadly visiting those restaurants on a daily basis is out of the question due to the high costs here in this cold cold country but at least once a week should be possible.

 

Shopping

Mom in law loves shopping. I believe she would even sleep in the shopping mall given the chance. Thankfully we have three shopping malls in close proximity and additional two or three involving 20-30min car ride. Due to these perfect conditions I do not have to worry about the shopping part at all (except the costs involved if she actually finds something she likes…)

 

Snow

According to my wife, she really wants to play in the snow. No problem, here should be plenty of it by then. However I don’t know how long she will enjoy it and furthermore we will need to buy her some good winter clothes.

 

The Baby

Mom in law wants a cute mixed grandson. No problem, our son will be the cutest baby ever (no offence to other babies 😉 )

Great news is that she will help us out with the child, the not so great news is that I don’t really know who might be more annoying at night; the baby crying at night or mom in law snoring as loud as a starting jet plane.

 

Presents

Yes you read right, presents. As any good Chinese who wants to keep face she will have to bring some nice presents for her family and friends. Luckily we have a huge collection of fragrances, make-ups, cremes etc. due to the profession of my wife. So finding presents for her female friends and relatives won’t be a problem. The presents for the men will be a different story. Alcohol here in Finland is incredibly expensive and mostly pretty bad (I would not recommend any local beer to foreigners if they do not wish to feel very sad). This means that those presents are still mostly a big question mark in our plan.

 

Travelling

She will be three months here and spending that much time only in one apartment and few shopping malls will even get boring for my mother in law. However due to the baby we won’t be able to take her to any nice places or countries. But my parents came up with a solution! We will take a ship cruise to Germany, stay few weeks with my parents and go back by ship to Finland in April. With this mom in law will experience some other country she hasn’t been visiting yet, my own parents can see their grandson and even better, we can buy some presents which are still required so mom in law can keep her face.

 

This is our “Big Plan” thus far. Additional points might be still created or other parts changed (and no, the cutest baby part will stay). Have you ever made similar plans when your parents in law came to visit?