Old China Hands lunch 5 January

Our members are travelling (or sick)

Our Old China Hands lunch 5 January saw a turnout of 28, not bad as many were still on holiday travel, USA, Europe, Philippines… And three were sick. Yeah I am still stuck in Beijing. Happy 2024 to all!
We had a guest of honor, our (new) Belgian ambassador who finally made it.

Together with Allan I informed our friends about the unfortunate situation of Peter Hogg who had a very bad fall and is still in intensive care. We hope he can recover, his family has arrived in Beijing to take care of him.
All pretty happy with the great lunch, well except one who shocked others with his negative comments… Oh well.
The dessert was “île flotante”, a very classic French dessert. A floating island or île flottante consists of meringue floating on crème anglaise (a vanilla custard). The meringue used is baked in a bain-marie. It may be served at room temperature or chilled.

Mr. Trains is now also Mr. Chinglish

David Feng continues with his train reporting and has started a Substack Newsletter about trains.
He has recently joined a team of experts in Beijing tasked with standardizing foreign-language (especially English) signage and drafting and implementing translation norms, as well as getting rid of Chinglish — a committee he calls tongue-in-cheek the “Chinglish committee”.
This committee of experts, part of City Hall’s Foreign Affairs office, deliberates and approves guidelines and norms regarding translation in standardized signage, and acts as a higher authority to determining “what’s right” versus “what’s wrong” when it comes to translations. The panel of experts drafted China’s first local norms on bilingual (English and Chinese) signage in 2006, and has just completed a review of these norms, updating and refining standards.
Now being transformed as a “think tank” of top language experts in Beijing, membership is exclusive to, and consists of, the best-in-class of language professionals. Well-known Mark Levine and Michael Crook are also members.
David records 20+ years of commitment to identifying and rooting out Chinglish (e.g. his Everyday Rail English campaign) and is kind of a real polyglot.

The organization: Experts from the Beijing Municipal Government’s Foreign Affairs Office’s Translation Review Expert Database. In Chinese called 北京市政府外办重点语种译审专家库专家.

Next lunch

Our next lunch is planned for 2 February, ahead of Chinese New Year. Renaat will make “Galette des Rois”. The Belgian Embassy already celebrated Galette des Rois.
Morel’s will be closed from 5 to 12 February, opening on Valentine Day 14 February.

Official holidays are from 10 to 17 February. CNY is on 10 February, starting the Year of the Dragon.

Beijing TRB Iberico

One more location

Our famous Ignace Lecleir has opened a new location in Beijing, Beijing TRB Iberico, one more restaurant in his chain, the TRB Hospitality Group. Other restaurants are TRB Hutong, Fork by TRB, Iberico by TRB, Peach and TRB Catering. The new restaurant is located in a building sitting on Liangma river near Kempinski Hotel, Maizidian Jie. Many years ago it was a SPA where I was a member for some time. The opening received a lot of attention in the media, see here in TheBeijinger.
I was curious to try it and on 2 October 2023 we went for dinner. Pleasant surprise to see unexpectedly Ignace at the entrance. He took so much care of us, with a nice table overlooking the river and a menu he composed and ordered for us.

We were really spoiled with a great red after some sparkling wine. And a stream of dishes with no end.
All the dishes were pieces of culinary art, bone marrow with tartare, seafood paella, mushroom balls, foie gras, toasts with all kinds of goodies, salad with Iberico ham, crispy duck, egg and tuna, steak, fish, … I lost count.

What a service

It was a unique dining experience in Beijing TRB Iberico with personal service of Ignace Lecleir  plus the other staff, always attentive. It is not cheap but you get an unforgettable evening. If you want to impress a guest, the place to be.
We made a short video you can watch here (needs VPN in China): Beijing TRB Iberico

Later on several of my friends also tried it and were very happy.
Interesting to note is that Ignace and Renaat (Morel) are good friends and dine at each other’s restaurant. They are both Belgians promoting the best in cuisine here in Beijing.

Old China Hands 3 November

Our members are busy!

Our Old China Hands 3 November lunch had a moderate attendance of 26 people, we had many last-minute cancellations with many stuck in meetings, trips or simply too busy. Or with the flu…
With COVID restrictions gone our members are more back on the road and catching up with business.

Anyway, all had a good time as always, chatting and enjoying the food. The tongue in madeira sauce reminds me of my Mum’s great cooking.
Next lunch: Friday 1 December.

Bonne Maman

Our friend Quentin had a surprise for all, giving away the home-made jam he makes from fruit he collects from his garden near the Great Wall. See some of his samples. Very professional and really good – I have been the lucky guy enjoying his jam since quite some time. Thank you, and now I can continue to call you “Monsieur Confiture”!

As you can see, his jam reminds us all of the famous Confiture Bonne Maman, see here the background and more pictures.

Old China Hands 6 October

Last day of holidays

We had our Old China Hands 6 October 2023 lunch in Morel’s Restaurant with a more modest attendance of 24. Reasons: holiday travel, some COVID cases, some with injuries, unplanned other meeting and yes Matthew who forgot to set his alarm (again). But he was kind enough to leave a big tip to the staff as compensation. Thank you!

Renaat finally put the frame up of our Anniversary event!

Again all loved the food and the lively chat. One of the dishes is from my hometown, “Waterzooi of fish, Ghent’s way”. See more about waterzooi here.

Our stars of the month

Kevin is a part of the “Brian & Kevin DUO”, along with following of bears. They have been performing in several locations in Beijing.
I personally love their songs, most I (try to) sing in the KTV.

Brian is a US citizen, currently self employed as a communications consultant with a primary focus on enhancing public speaking skills, international communications, and brand recognition; married to a Chinese lady.
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. Playing as a duo with Kevin has been one of those great connections and pleasures. Styles of music include – Rock, Country, Jazz, Blues, R & B, and much more.

Kevin Paul is also US citizen with a Chinese wife. He is a German-trained Master Piano maker (Klavierbaumeister) by profession, and has been working as a consultant in this field the past several years. Previously, he lived and worked for many years in both Germany and Denmark, and is fluent in both languages. He can also speak and read Chinese on a basic level.
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, complimenting Brian’s stage presence with solid musical underpinnings.

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.