I apologise for the quietness on my blog recently. The main reason is that Kimi and I have just been away for a few days. Originally we were going to Shanghai to see a concert, but after the government put a stop to that -- as I talked about here -- we decided to pay a visit to Hangzhou with the possibility of visiting Shanghai afterwards (we didn't make it to Shanghai).
After a four and a half hour bus ride, we arrived at Hangzhou. Everything seemed very familiar, nothing had changed since I lived there just over a year ago. We walked to the nearest bus stop and caught a bus to our hotel located in the city centre. The hotel itself was very modern, basic, and most importantly, clean. By this time it was already approaching 4 o'clock, and because we didn't have any lunch on the bus, we were hungry. Our plan was to go to one of Hangzhou's most popular restaurants, Grandma's Kitchen. We thought if we went early we would certainly get a table. This is what happened:
So we waited -- for an hour and a half. It is quite astonishing how one restaurant can be so popular. Every time it is the same story, huge queues and slow service. There isn't only one Grandma's Kitchen, there are many of them scattered across the city, each of them probably as equally crowded. Once our number was called we entered the restaurant and took our table -- which we had to share with another couple. When reading the menu one thing is quite apparent: everything is cheap. I got the feeling that one of the reasons the restaurant is so popular could be due to a con of sorts. The restaurant looks expensive, the food looks fancy, but it's all a bargain. Also, the menu is extremely diverse, there's a lot crammed into the pages. You can get anything from Chinese basics like Mapo Tofu, to other slightly less desireable offerings such as Pig's brain (they didn't really need to have a picture of that one, I could have guessed what it might look like).
Our food was delivered extremely quickly even though it was almost impossible to find a waiter who would take our order in the first place. The food was delicious, not the standard Chinese food I am used to. Each dish had something different to offer, it was almost worth the wait.
There'll be more Hangzhou tomorrow, time to get ready for work now.