Old China Hands 4 August

Good turnout

Our previous lunch had only 15 people, so I feared our Old China Hands 4 August lunch would be similar. Well. happy to say we were 24, a great turnout as many are still travelling.
Food of Morel’s Restaurant was great as you can see in the pictures, Renaat was still in Belgium but he does keep a VERY close eye on what’s going on! He sent me two pics he took from the restaurant CCTV cameras, he can watch it in his mobile.

So this time I am in two pics for once.

Next lunch

Next lunch planned for Friday 1 September. Let’s cross fingers for a bigger crowd!
For our lunch Susan was already back from her Europe trip. Renaat is back on 6 August.

Old China Hands 2 June

All away?

The RSVP I received for the lunch of Old China Hands 2 June 2023 revealed so many of our friends were traveling or simply busy. Well, we made it with a total of 24 OCH happily chatting and enjoying the food in Morel’s Restaurant.

See the menu and some of the dishes!

Poor Greg pushing the wrong buttons

Our friend Greg had the disappointing news his video of the Anniversary failed. Well, at least we had the pictures!

Our famous OCH – Renaat Morel

Renaat is always somewhere in the news.

This time he was honored for his restaurant by BRTV (Beijing Radio and TV) in an event on 23 April. You can see the frame in the restaurant.

Other famous OCH

Oops yes this is Raja and myself.
All details you can find in a previous post.

Raja had found an old picture of the two of us, somewhere in the late eighties we guess. Location and exact time unknown…

Brian & Kevin live in Beijing

Dinner in Blue Star

We had a lively evening with Brian & Kevin live in Beijing, in Blue Star Restaurant on 25 April 2023. Pretty good turnout with many friends.
It was an evening of Standup Comedy and Live Music, featuring Brian Nelson and guest starring Kevin Gouldmann. Brian is from the USA and has been living in China now for over 2 years. He received a classical theater acting degree from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and has utilized these skills to enhance his entertainment and business career. Brian shared his Real Lao Wai China experiences and frequent miscommunication challenges. We listened how his life is truly lost in translation. Kevin has been working together with Brian for the past few years, complementing Brian’s presence with solid musical underpinnings.

I personally love their music and whenever possible I attend their performance.
Thorsten of Blue Star did a great job, the spare ribs were really great, Texas BBQ style.

Dinner in Home Plate

Another good excuse to return to Home Plate in Sanlitun to see Brian & Kevin live in Beijing.
We had the pulled pork sandwich and the pulled chicken sandwich, never disappointing. We even ordered a second pulled pork!
As announced by Home Plate: Brian has been entertaining crowds with his music in the USA for more than 20 years. He continues his musical journey here in China and loves connecting with many musicians from around the world.

Kevin studied music composition and guitar in his younger years, and played in numerous bands in America , Germany, and Denmark. He came to Beijing in 2014, working as a master piano maker. He has been working together with Brian for the past few years, complimenting Brian’s stage presence with solid musical underpinnings.

See the VIMEO video.

I was surprised at one point when a pretty girl came to say hi, she knew my food videos on WeChat Channels and loves them. So, a picture with a fan!


Ambassador’s Kitchen in Beijing 4

Argentinian fusion

Ambassador’s Kitchen in Beijing 4 tells about our experience with Ambassador’s Kitchen trying to show some Argentinian fusion. On 9 January 2023 Renaat Morel and myself were invited to join their shooting in the Mango TV building where they have an imitation restaurant. Previously we were asked to be jury members for Belgium food.

We were supposed to walk into the restaurant as normal guests and then welcomed by the host who showed the menu. That evening we were supposed to taste “Argentinian fusion dishes”. At another table as it happened a German friend of mine, Georg, was tasting a Belgian dish. Small world!

The dishes were OK but honestly we did not see a link to Argentine cuisine. The chicken tasted a bit like Hainanese chicken. The staff did do their best however. For me the best was to taste again Yerba Mate tea, did not have it for decades. And in the real traditional cup!
Again big Mango TV team to do the shooting…

What is Yerba Mate?

It is a stimulating drink, greenish in color, containing caffeine and tannin, and is less astringent than tea. Mate is especially common in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern Brazil as well as in Syria and parts of Lebanon, where it was introduced from Argentina.
Yerba mate is traditionally consumed from a container called a gourd and sipped with a metal straw that has a filter at its lower end to strain out the leaf fragments.
See the benefits here.

Real Argentinian food

I discovered the Argentinian restaurant Malbec & Beef on 24 March 2023, located a bit north of Raffles Clinic, the building with many restaurants such as Bodega, Turkish Feast and others. I found out they were the restaurant where Ambassador’s Kitchen did previously the shooting for Argentinian cuisine.

We opted for the beef, two different ones (sirloin and rib-eye). We were not disappointed.
You won’t find much of a difference between ribeye and sirloin in terms of nutrition, but sirloin does have less fat content as a leaner cut of steak. If you’re watching fats in your diet, sirloin is usually the better option. However, the vitamin, mineral, and calorie content of both cuts are similar.
The small red wine from Argentina was also very good.

As a special gesture from the manager we were treated with a “provoleta”, gratinated cheese, delicious. It is a famous dish as explained here:
“Provoleta is melted provolone cheese, served hot from the BBQ or oven, with a variety of toppings.  Provoleta hails from Argentina. Traditional Provoleta is made with a unique Argentinian type of provolone cheese.”

Ambassador’s Kitchen in Beijing 3


In Ambassador’s Kitchen in Beijing 3 I show the cooking competition organized by Mango TV, see the previous post.

Two teams were to compete preparing Belgian dishes, one team headed by Ms. He Chaolian, (Laurinda Ho, youngest daughter of Stanley Ho) and the other with Li Chen, Superstar, famous Chinese actor and director. Location: the Mango TV building north of Taikooli, on 20 December 2022. The Belgian embassy provided a translator.
Jury members were Renaat Morel and myself. They got my Chinese name wrong but that was our mistake. Right is 范克高夫.

Ingredients, cutlery, and other were provided by Morel’s Restaurant.
In a limited time the teams had to make some famous Belgian dishes: Belgian fries, mussels, endive and ham (gratinated), pears in red wine. The pears (“Conference pear”) are from Belgium and have a unique and delicate taste. Some supermarkets in Beijing sell them.

Hands up for the two teams

We were a bit worried how the teams would handle the challenge.
As it turned out, they both did a great job.

It was difficult to nominate the “winner”, we finally awarded the prize to He Chaolian as she opted for the more difficult dish, the endive au gratin.
Again the organization and team work of Mango TV were impressive.
Yes, Beijing life is never boring!