Old China Hands lunch 3 January

Our monthly lunch at Morel’s Restaurant

The Old China Hands lunch 3 January 2020 was the first one of 2020, a year where we face the Year of the Rat (my year!). We were 32 while we were initially worried nobody would turn up…

Lively conversation as always with some hanging around till late afternoon…
This time also some pics of the (great) food. It is a special deal for us only for the business lunch, with a choice of several starters and several main dishes, plus desert and coffee or tea. Thanks to Renaat and Susan of Morel’s Restaurant! See also the wonderful Christmas decoration, design, execution and pictures by Susan. Many people stopped on the street to take pictures of it!

Our next lunch

Next round is on Friday 7 February 2020, well after Chinese New Year.
If you know anybody interested and fitting the requirements, let me know.

Home Christmas party

Party is back

We decided, a bit at the last moment, to have again our home Christmas Party, on Christmas Eve 24 December.
We went for a “reduced” crowd, in our vocabulary that means around close to 50 (including the kids).
We invited the foreign experts of BRITF and a UWEE representative, plus some more friends.

Yes, the usual turkey, the best you can find in this world, everybody gets a bit crazy about it. And many other dishes, all thanks to the chef Sun (she kicks out everybody from the kitchen when cooking).


Mark Levine and partner Fu Han kindly gave us a short performance, much appreciated. The other musicians present kept a low profile and only joined the chorus.
Our crowd is always a mix of Chinese friends and expats from around the world. All enjoyed the “organized chaos” as I call it.

Our team is highly efficient. Before midnight all was back to “normal” in our office, as the pictures show. For those who joined us, they must be a bit surprised by the (sudden) change.
Thanks also to all the helping hands to finish the preparations, wash all the dishes and clean it all up. And for filling up again my reserve of red wine.

Thanks also for the beautiful flowers, we first thought it was a cake!
And oh yes. Discover an engineer’s Christmas tree.

Old China Hands lunch 6 December

Our monthly lunch at Morel’s Restaurant

The Old China Hands lunch 6 December 2019 was the last lunch of 2019, a year where we enjoyed our monthly lunches. We were well over 30, a pretty nice number for the time of the year. The list of “members” is now well over 100!

Normally everybody goes for the (special) business lunch but one insisted for a fondue. Can’t blame him, the fondue is great, see the menu.

Our next lunch

Next round is on Friday 3 January 2020, the first lunch of the new year. I decided to keep it on the first Friday, whoever is in town!
To all our OCH friends, a Happy New Year, also the Year of the Rat (my year), coming soon.

Meeting Jan Jambon

Morel’s Restaurant

My friend’s restaurant is “the” place to meet interesting people. Like meeting Jan Jambon, who signed the VIP book of the restaurant.

On 25 September 2017 he had lunch there, when he was on an official visit:
H.E. Mr. Jan JAMBON, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior and Security attended the 86th INTERPOL General Assembly session in Beijing; accompanied by H.E. Mr. Marc VINCK, Ambassador of Belgium.

He was again in Beijing in November 2019 during the Belgian Economic Mission to the People’s Republic of China, presided by Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium, Representative of His Majesty the King  in his capacity as Minister-President of the Government of Flanders and Flemish Minister for Foreign Policy, Culture, IT and Facilities. That time I did not meet him.

Giving my book

I took the opportunity to give a copy of my book Toxic Capitalism. Also present was my friend Peter Ritzen and his wife Stella, and of course chef Renaat Morel.
See the pictures:

Swiss cheese fondue in Morel’s

Winter fare!

On 21 November a small group of friends (our typical Belgian-Dutch team) tasted the new Swiss cheese fondue in Morel’s. So what’s new? Instead of just pieces of bread to dip into the cheese, we got cubes of ham and carrots, and broccoli.
Both broccoli and carrots were cooked. Further possibilities are small young potatoes (with the skin) and cauliflower. Cauliflower might be a bit tricky as it breaks easily. Click to view the clip!


And yes, beware of losing your piece of bread or other in the pot… Remember the story of Asterix and Obelix in Switzerland…


Also served: Glühwein (mulled wine), much enjoyed by the ladies!

Governor of East Flanders

At another table was the governor of East Flanders (Didier Detollenaere). We chatted a little and Renaat was as usual the source of “real life in Beijing”. The capital of East Flanders is my hometown Ghent!
The restaurant has seen a long list of ministers and other “important people”, it is really “the” place to meet all kinds of people.

The story of the candle piece of art

You can’t miss in Morel’s Restaurant the big candle structure… Susan showed me the picture on how it all started, twelve years ago, with a simple wine bottle. Now, after hundreds of burning and dripping candles, it is massive.


Some Chinese even wanted to buy it! Don’t even think of touching it, you might get in trouble with Renaat!