Old China Hands lunch 5 April 2024

Never mind Tomb Sweeping Holiday

And yes, the Old China Hands lunch 5 April 2024 was actually during the holidays. Some people had family obligations, other did not have to work. We still ended up with 30 participants who enjoyed the food and the company. We had some last minute cancellations, somehow welcome as the restaurant was fully booked! The restaurant had to ask the last ones to leave at 5 pm as other clients were coming…

The menu, see also the pictures:
– chicken curry salad OR Morel’s chef salad (ham, blue cheese, and pan-fried chicken on lettuce) OR fresh daily soup
– farmers pork sausage with onion sauce served with red cabbage and hotchpotch vegetable potatoes OR mini steak minute with blue cheese sauce served with daily vegetables and French fries OR pan-fried snapper with mustard sauce served with vegetables and mashed potatoes
– daily dessert
– coffee or tea

The next lunch is on 3 May, again during a holiday period.

This time the spotlight is on me!

See this article in theBeijinger dated 13 April 2024: “Gilbert Van Kerckhove: Beijing Expat & Food Vlog Extraordinaire”.
Here is the link.

It says:

If you’ve been on Dianping and WeChat Channels as much as we are – trust me, we’re on there quite a bit – you’ll have noticed videos posted by a rather lively elderly gentleman, trying all there is to try in Beijing’s culinary scene.
Gilbert Van Kerckhove is more than just an old-timer in Beijing, though. Having called China home for over 40 years, this Belgian expat first arrived in Beijing in 1980, when his expertise as an electrical engineer was needed to help establish a representative office for a power plant project.
Although he’s retired, Van Kerckhove has found many ways to keep busy in Beijing
Van Kerckhove ended up staying in China and assisted in the development of a few major projects in Shanghai – including the city’s Line 3 metro line and Jin Mao Tower. He later served as a senior consultant to the Beijing city government from 2000 onwards, even finding himself as the only foreigner on the city’s Development Planning Commission tasked with planning the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Even though Van Kerckhove retired eight years ago, he’s still as busy as ever. Along with making foodie videos for Dianping, WeChat Channels, Kuaishou, and Xiaohongshu he also travels the country helping with various educational and other projects.

Read the rest online!


100 years Rotary Club of Beijing


On 20 April 2024 we will celebrate 100 years Rotary Club of Beijing with a sumptuous dinner.
On August 30, 1924, Admiral Tsai Ting Kai, the then Head of Chinese Customs, was appointed the inaugural President of the Rotary Club of Beijing alongside 22 founding members.
Our Club was the 3rd Rotary Club in China following  Shanghai in 1919 and Tianjin in 1923.
Throughout the years the Rotary Club of Beijing has been renowned for its commitment to charitable projects, a mission we continue to champion with pride.

To mark 100 years Rotary Club of Beijing we are organizing a celebratory dinner on 20 April 2024 in the Ballroom of the Kempinski Hotel Beijing. The evening will feature a welcoming reception followed by a  5-course dinner with wines, great entertainment, dancing, raffle prizes and a Silent Auction.
If interested, contact me.

Revised history of 100 years Rotary Club of Beijing

I had already published an earlier version of the history of our club in this post.
As requested I made a new revised history article with the help of my unique and exhaustive collection of documents.

Here it is: 240220 RCBhistory

I had to omit a lot of details as not to make the document too long. Many names of contributors to the success of our club could not be mentioned.
It was also not possible to give an overview of the so many projects the club has carried out over the years. I only mention The Gift of Life. One of our present key projects is about hypospadias. See earlier posts about his very serious problem affecting some young boys.
In late 2023 some 120 surgeries were done.
If I find the time I could make a study only about the projects we did over past decades. Believe me. there are so many…

Dragobete in Beijing

Celebration of love

On 24 February 2024 I was invited to “The celebration of Love, Dragobete  in Beijing”, by the Romanian Cultural Institute of Beijing. So what’s Dragobete? Dragobete is a traditional Romanian holiday celebrated on February 24. Dragobete was the son of Baba Dochia, which stands for the main person in the myth related to spring arrival and the end of the harsh winter. Due to his endless kindness he was chosen – according to some sources, by Virgin Mary – to be the Guardian of Love. Read about it here.
In Romania, Dragobete is known as a day for lovers, rather like Valentine’s Day.

The event was in Jinshang, in the large event hall and was attended by a very large crowd, with also the Romanian ambassador.

Fashion show

We were treated with music and a fashion show done by a Rotarian Sorina Tulan of the RC Satu Mare – District 2241.
She organized the small fashion show with clothes designed and produced by her company, the ETNOGLAM collection by INEDIT (Satu Mare).
I attended the event with two other Beijing Rotarians and we did a banner exchange.
See here a short clip on VIMEO with two of the performers. )

Romania, an undervalued tourist destination

I had the chance to visit Romania in September 2011 with a delegation of China State Grid to visit potential wind farms. We did thousands of kilometers in the country through magnificent and scenic areas. We visited among other Danube Delta, Bran Castle (Dracula!), Peles Castle, Palace of Parliament and much more.

We also had a glimpse of the vibrant nightlife.
We saw Rotary signs but when we tried the meeting of RC Levant the room was … empty.

Old China Hands lunch 1 March

Great turnout

The Old China Hands lunch 1 March 2024 has a total of 32 attendants. We had some special guests, such as Stephen Schindler (who founded Schindler Restaurants: Schindlers Anlegestelle, Schindlers Tankstelle, …). He is an old friend of Renaat.

Kevin brought his usual pair of bears to watch over us.
It was again a great lunch and everybody had a good time.

Another special guest

Jaime has a terrific long history in China and he wrote a book about it. He could be the honorary chairman of our Old China Hands group, being I guess the earliest one to arrive in China.

Jaime Adriano FlorCruz is a Filipino journalist and diplomat with a career spanning more than four decades. He has reported on a wide range of topics in China, including the country’s political and economic developments, as well as its cultural and social issues.
I know Jaime since the eighties… He was a famous journalist, a legend.
He was confirmed on December 7, 2022 as Ambassador to China. On February 24, 2023, the Foreign Ministry accepted the copy of credentials presented by newly-appointed Ambassador who arrived in China on February 14.
Jaime met a number of his old friends!

Great food

As always we had a wide choice in our special menu, some dishes are not in the normal menu:

  • Sliced Smoked salmon stuffed with seafood and garden greens OR poached eggs with wine merchant sauce OR Morel’s chef salad (ham, blue cheese, and pan-fried chicken on lettuce) OR cream of tomato soup
  • Fricandeau of beef served with hot cherry and mashed potatoes OR beef tenderloin Stroganoff OR red snapper Provençale style served with vegetables and mashed potatoes
  • daily dessert

See most of the dishes in the pictures. I went for “poached eggs with wine merchant sauce”, so good I ordered it for a take-away!. And then the “beef tenderloin Stroganoff”, super tasty.
As I always say, any complaint contact me immediately so we can check it. After the lunch, no more complaints …
The following lunch is planned for Friday 5 April 2024.

The magic of drones

Our monthly dinner meeting

During the Rotary Club of Beijing dinner on 27 February 2024 we could watch the magic of drones. Normally we have lunch meetings.
We welcomed Claire Han who works at EFYI, a global leader of intelligent industrial UAVs. With core technology in UAV intelligent control, swarm control system, EFYI offers products and system solutions in the field of UAV intelligent control system, drone formation show, intelligent UAV logistics, and UAV application system customization etc.

EFYI holds a World Record: “26 Min 19 Sec! UAVs Performance of EFYI Group Holds Guinness World Record”. A new record for the Longest Animation Performed by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
Claire gave us a drone demonstration show.
Robbin Bishoen is World UAV Federation Consultant (Netherlands)(Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).

Claire and later Robin gave us an interesting insight in the magic of drones. They organize those massive drone shows…

The drone show

See here on Vimeo a glimpse of the show. It was possible because it was indoors, any outside show needs all the necessary approvals.
It was a fun evening, well attended. We also welcomes a Rotarian from the Netherlands.
Food of Kempinski was nice as usual.