Back in force
Happy to see our Old China Hands lunch 5 August reaching again 35 attendants. We still had to keep the strict door checks for the negative COVID test. Sadly one of our most regular members was refused entry as his test was 5 days, the test he had done the previous day did not show the result, most probably as they did not enter his data correctly. We are not being “despotic”: police has installed equipment that checks if people entering scanned – and the health status.
Sorry Terry, we missed you.
Anyway everybody happy, the food was great as always, see some of the dishes here – Russian egg salad, fricandeau, piccata Bolognese, red snapper filets, and pancake with fruit.
I always eat too much during those lunches, but in the evening I still needed to discuss with Chef Renaat.
I had the gratinated goat cheese and we were surprised with each a half waffle!
Our star of the month
This time the focus is on Raja, probably the oldest “Old China Hand”, he beats me by far.
He found a picture of us, date unknown but somewhere in the eighties.
Raja Magasweran is originally from Sri Lanka. See the documentary about him:
“Bond With China – China Fate – My career is in China”.
《中国缘 | 我的事业在中国》20210822完整版
Dated 22 August 2021 as I understand.
Watch the full version here.
I had the pleasure to meet his family several times.
These are still difficult times and we had to skip two lunches with all the COVID mess. The Old China Hands lunch 1 July had finally 20 participants.
For the lunch there were strict requirements; tables of maximum 8, negative COVID test in the Health app (max. 2 days). temperature control. All enforced by myself at the door.
Pretty weird as I had about 7 last-minute cancellations, most by people having stomach problems (not COVID!).
Food by Renaat Morel was great as always. Found myself back for dinner to taste the beef stroganoff (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef_Stroganoff ) and have drinks with a French friend, married to a Philippine lady and who works for a Belgian company… I then learned we are actually neighbors…
Our star Mark Levine
As I said already, Mark is all over the media and most probably the most featured of our group. I already introduced him earlier, “Old China Hands stars”.
Well here some more about him. Read the articles to know more about him and his China story.
He sadly could not make it to our 1 July lunch.
See the pic with the famous and much loved Thai Princess when he handed her a copy of his book in The Bookworm. Date: 8 April 2017. The Princess has been a frequent visitor to China. Pictured in the middle is Peter Goff, former Rotarian and former owner of The Bookworm.
RIP The Bookworm
That place was forced to close, sadly. It was a library, coffee shop, book shop and the center for cultural and literary events. So many memories of meetings and events there…
I mentioned the closing earlier.
Here some pics of the great place we miss so much.
It was also reported in the SCMP on 15 November 2019.
Is it a joke?
Not an April Fool’s Day but a real Old China Hands 1 April lunch with a nice attendance of 33 people, of course in Morel’s Restaurant.
Again everybody happy to chat and enjoy the great food, see some of the dishes.
All were too busy to come up with some April 1 joke. We had special Flemish and French-speaking tables, leaving the others to chat in English and German.
Our friend and regular participant Terry Crossman is famous for his hutong volunteering, being interviewed by Chinese and foreign media.
Even the very official China Daily published an article, see:
See the PDF here: 220116 TerryCrossman
Click the link to China Daily to view the video clip.
Another short documentary came out with a nice video.
The video is on WeChat (Weixin) Channels, no link available. But Terry sent the file and you can view it here (VPN required): https://vimeo.com/695594973
Terry will make sure you find your way in the hutongs near Houhai!
And more Terry
I was nearly posting and then, another interview with the Hutong Man.
He is the darling of the media! Mark Levine and Terry arecompeting for the most media articles. I stand no chance!
See the article here: 220407 TerryCrossman
Old China Hands 4 March lunch had 33 participants, again a great get together to enjoy the great food and companionship. No special “event”, just having fun.
Another famous OCH
This time (finally) a focus on Renaat Morel, the owner and chef of Morel’s Restaurant and Café.
He has been in the same spot for over twenty years, a real feat as so many restaurant come and go.
He came to China a looong time ago, to actually start up the air catering business and much more. What many people do not know is his past as a celebrated chef in France. I have been trying to trace back some of his accomplishments, here listed in the latest draft.
See: Renaat Chef
He has served the famous people as you will see.
In Beijing he is also very well know and has many interviews and articles in the Chinese media.
Here one of the latest in TheBeijinger.
See: 19 December 2021 https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/sJ-S5BNN2vwRFS7VHZMVzg
The full article: 211219 MorelTheBeijinger
Yes you will see me there a lot as I not only love the food but also meeting my friends there.
See here some of my favorite dishes: the gratin of endive and ham (see here more!), spaghetti, chateaubriand.
You will not find the same quality in other locations (and surely not at that price). Even the spaghetti…
Year of the Tiger
With the golden week of Chinese New Year, Morel’s was closed on the first Friday, so we had the Old China Hands 11 February lunch instead. Great attendance with 38 present!
I organized a small lucky draw to celebrate the 2022 Winter Olympics. Two lucky winners got the pair of Olympic coins, Mark and Ferencz.
Morel’s Restaurant again offered a great lunch menu. I chose the Hachis Parmentier, that was a great but real filling dish!
See here some details about that dish:
French Beef and Potato Casserole
Hachis Parmentier is a French casserole made with layers of mashed potatoes and beef, topped with cheese.
Hachis Parmentier, pronounced HA-she PAR-man-TAY, is a classic French recipe that is pure cold-weather comfort food. It’s perhaps best described as the French version of Shepherd’s Pie. It combines seasoned beef with a layer of silky smooth potato puree and is topped with gooey gruyere cheese.
The desert was also special: “Tiger Chocolate Choux Pastry”!
Here an introduction:
Edwin Maher, our CCTV star
Edwin and me we go a long way. I already mentioned him in my following post:
“The top 60 foreign experts in China”
It mentions the book “60 Foreign Experts in China”, published in 2009 by the Foreign Languages Press. Listed are the “usual suspects” such as Israel Epstein, Sidney Shapiro, David Dollar, William Lindesay, Norman Foster, Edwin Maher and even Henricus (Hein for the insiders) Verbruggen. Yeah and myself.
I was also on the float with him on the parade of 1 October 2009.
Oct 1 Parade last pictures
Many articles published about him… See here a few:
Article China Daily 28 January 2015
The full story: 150128 EdwinMaherCD
Article China Daily 27 October 2017
And in TheBeijinger:
Edwin is currently away to be with family. Looking forward to see him again in our lunches.