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!


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.

Old China Hands lunch 2 February 2024

Nice turnout

The Old China Hands lunch 2 February 2024 fell on one of those in-between dates, as many people started traveling again for pleasure or business. But we scored 32 attendants, better than expected!

As usual a crowd eager to chat and taste the excellent food from Morel’s Restaurant. The restaurant again scored high in Beijing, see the two accolades they received. The CHAO sign is given to only very few Westerns restaurants.

The next lunch is planned for Friday 1 March.

If you see the Dragon, say HI, he is my friend!

One OCH interviews other OCH

I already had mentioned David in the post “Old China Hands lunch 5 January”.
Oh well, he is again making noise! Jason Smith interviewed The Trains Guy aka David Feng on The Bridge Podcast to get his insights into the future of train tech in China.

As Elon Musk’s Hyperloop One shutters its operations, China is making Maglev and Hyperloop a reality.
Watch the Full One Hour Interview in the YouTube Link
and also on PlayerFM.
The interview with China Global TV Network. 51 minutes is also on CGTN.

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.

Old China Hands lunch 1 December

Nice crowd
Our Old China Hands lunch 1 December saw a nice turnout of 34 despite the last minute cancellation of some busy members.
Nothing special to report except that all were having a great time to chat and enjoy the food of Morel’s Restaurant. Renaat always prepares a special menu for our group.

It is the last lunch of 2023 and the next one is planned for 5 January 2024.
We wish all of our members great and happy Holiday season, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!
Looking forward to see all of you in the next year.